Terrace residents rally to aid Syrian refugees

Cost of sponsoring a refugee family estimated at $20,000 but those who came out to a recent meeting were confident in raising that amount

Terrace residents will be helping several Syrian refugee families escape to a much safer place: here.

After receiving many requests from residents about how to help the refugees, Skeena Diversity Centre hosted a meeting Sept. 15 and welcomed 20 people, including representatives from two local churches, Sacred Heart Parish and Knox United Church.

“About 20 people came out and within an hour, we had a commitment and a plan,” said Skeena Diversity executive director Sasa Loggin.

“As a community, we are looking to sponsor two to four families.”

The decision was made to establish a “Group of Five,” a term used by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) because five or more people are required to register as those willing to sponsor refugees, and for the two churches to each sponsor a family.

“After getting through the process of registration, we will work on the applications together,” she said, adding that information indicates that the cost of sponsoring a family is $20,000 for the first year.

“Yes, the cost is high but people felt very confident,” said Loggin.

A Facebook page, Terrace Sponsors Syrian Refugee Families, has been set up and will provide latest information, ideas and meeting times.

And crowd-funding is being looked at to raise money along with asking groups and individuals to help. The group isn’t able to set up a bank account quite yet.

“After we have raised all the money, we can proceed with the application to CIC to sponsor refugees,” said Loggin.

“I have to say that I was really amazed how committed and compassionate people are, and how willing to do something people are.”

The group’s next meeting is 6 p.m. Sept 29 at Skeena Diversity Centre.