ROB DRAL The Standard
SCUGOG: Thanks to the continued support of the Port Perry community, the first of two Syrian families sponsored by the Port Perry Refugee Support Group arrived to a warm welcome from the community on Saturday February 13th! Group spokesperson, Karen Stiller, updated the group Tuesday morning. “Our welcome and settlement team reports that the family is doing well, that the kids are enjoying TV and their new toys”, said Stiller.
Another family is expected to arrive within the coming weeks. According to the group’s website, “The family we are sponsoring could arrive within days, or within weeks. There are a lot of moving parts and timeframes change quickly and without much warning.”
The interchurch support group was matched with two families of refugees with the help of the Christie Refugee Welcome Center in Toronto. Both families consist of 2 parents and 3 young children. Grandparents are also relocating with one of the families.
The support group has set up various temporary housing options for the families, which they must support for at least a year. The support group is made up of the extended community of Scugog and five churches: Victory Christian Centre, Hope Christian Reformed, New Song, Port Perry United, and Emmanuel Community Church.
Port Perry Refugee Support Group spokesperson, Karen Stiller, says the the funds donated by individual citizens in Port Perry, including the group 100 Men Who Care, plus the fundraising done by local churches has exceeded expectations and she is thrilled with how much the community has come together to rally around the families.
“We would like to assure the people of our gratitude. We are thankful for the generous community of Port Perry and are confident in the potential to help more families than we thought”, said Ms. Stiller.
So far, the group has raised well over $50,000 (their original goal) as well as most of the furniture needed and is now focusing efforts on small household items, clothing, toys, and pantry items.
The group is also hosting a number of fundraising and awareness events in the next couple of weeks:
This Saturday Feb. 20, a celebration and thank you night is taking place at Emmanuel Community Church in Port Perry. The event starts at 7 p.m., and features guest speaker, Mohammad. Mohammad is also a recent refugee to Canada and will be talking about the struggles that refugees face in a new country and what can be done to help them resettle and help them feel welcomed. Dessert will also be served, so get there early!
A week later, on Saturday Feb. 27, at the New Song Art Gallery, The Port Perry Refugee Support Group welcomes the public to join them for the opening reception of “Art for Refuge”, an art show featuring a wide variety of art from paintings and wooden signs to sculptures. “All art was created around the theme of refuge or refugee”, says Ms. Stiller and was made by local artists who then donated the pieces towards the cause. Currently, 25 artists have donated a piece of art to the fundraising event. The art show runs from Feb. 27 to Sunday, March 27. All proceeds go to supporting refugees.
For more information on events or donating, please call, New Song Church at 905-982-2064, visit /www.newsongportperry.ca, or look up and join “The Port Perry Refugee Support Group” on Facebook.
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