Sooke group hopes to sponsor Syrian family

'We hope to raise the money and have people help to bring a refugee family to the Sooke region and look after them for a year': organizers

There’s no doubt the flames and carnage unfolding in Syria and the Middle East have engulfed the world in sadness, panic, and helplessness.

It’s certainly the case for the countless Syrians who’ve abandoned their ancestral home in search of a better life. The federal government’s promise to bring 25,000 refugees to Canada will give communities across Canada an opportunity to give a Syrian family a new home.

Local organizations have started their own committee that’s working towards bringing a Syrian family here.

The effort is a partnership between local churches and the community, led by Syd Jorna, who formed the Sooke Region Refugee Sponsorship Committee under the auspices of Saint Rose of Lima.

The Anglican Diocese is the administrative umbrella for these kinds of organizations, as they have a formal relationship with the Canadian government.

“We hope to raise the money and have people help to bring a refugee family to the Sooke region and look after them for a year,” Jorna said. “We want people to feel positive about this and to contribute.”

Volunteers will help the family deal with language and cultural barriers, as well as supplying a suitable living space, food and aide it in its journey to adapt in a new world.

“It will be a significant project for Sooke to take on,” Jorna said, adding that the sponsorship committee, once integrated, hopes to raise $50,000 to sponsor a Syrian family for one year.

Sooke-Esquimalt-Saanich MP Randall Garrison said he supports the government’s attempts to meet its goal of 25,000 refugees by year’s end, but the community needs to be involved.

“I don’t see a reason why refugees couldn’t be accommodated in any part of my riding, but I think what it will take at this point is for members of the community to step forward,” he said.

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