Efforts to bring refugees to Parksville Qualicum Beach down to paperwork

One group's selected family is a young mother and father who met in a refugee camp in Jordan and now have a baby girl

The Parksville Church of the Ascension refugee sponsorship committee met recently to celebrate raising more than $60,000 to sponsor two families.

“We have chosen the first family and now have to await the paperwork,” said chair Sandi Digras, adding that is the longest part.

She said that they are doing a private sponsorship to be able to select a specific family, but that takes much longer than the government sponsored route, which would essentially hand them an unknown, pre-screened family. Their selected family is a young mother and father who met in a refugee camp in Jordan and now have a baby girl. “Now they await the chance to start a new life with their baby in Canada.”

“Our team has assembled a group of willing volunteers who will be looking for accommodations and all the other needs for this family of three,” she said.

Once the first family is approved, which she guessed could take much of the year, the group will continue the process for a second family.

“This was all made possible by the generosity of our parish and the community who contributed to our fundraising effort,” she said, singling out help from an article in The NEWS.

At least two other efforts are moving along in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region, one led by the Qualicum Refugee Support Group with St. Marks Anglican Church and one led by Ed and Lillian Mayne with the Qualicum Community Baptist Church. To support or donate to the ongoing Church of the Ascension effort call Digras at 250-954-1991.