The new Qualicum Refugee Sponsorship Group says it has a fairly ambitious fundraising slate.
The group (QRSG-17) has been operational for the past couple of months, said chair Terry Roberts. The former QRSG group put a call out to the community earlier this year to see if there was interest in starting another group since the original group’s sponsorship ended in July.
The federal government shares the start-up costs and basic living expenses for the re-settlement of refugees, said a written response from the group.
“The QRSG-17 will recruit and organize community volunteers to establish housing, provide English language training, arrange for medical care and address other essential re-settlement needs. The process will be planned and managed by a core group of volunteers that will enter into a partnership agreement with the Anglican Diocese of B.C., which will serve as the Sponsorship Agreement Holder with the government.”
Roberts said in order to support a refugee family for the first year, which is part of the criteria for sponsoring a family, the group needs to raise $25,000.
But the QRSG-17 got a helping handing from its predecessor — in the form of $6,400.
Roberts said the previous group raised more than whatwas needed and gave the new group its remaining money to jumpstart the campaign.
“(Raising the money) is a challenge, but I think we’re up to it. But that $6,000 will be a good start,” Roberts said.
The group has multiple events planned for the community, including the launch of the campaign at the Qualicum Beach Farmers Market on Aug. 26 that will have Mayor Teunis Westbroek and Town Crier Len Mustard.
There will also be a magic show with Qualicum Beach-based magician Paul Romhany, along with magic duo The Magic of Zanthera. The show will be Oct. 1 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.
Roberts said there will also be a concert at Errington War Memorial Hall on Oct. 28 to help raise the money for the group.
For more information on QRSG-17, visit www.qualicumrsg.org.
The group previously held an information booth at the St. Mark’s Fair in July, Roberts said.
“The response, I think, was excellent. We didn’t hear anybody questioning what we were trying to do or that sort of thing. They were just very positive about what we’re trying to do, and we’re hoping to build on the success of the Johdee family,” he said.
The Johdee family has been settled in Qualicum Beach for a little more than a year now, with the mom and dad working local jobs and the five children enrolled in school.