The Parksville Church of the Ascension refugee sponsorship committee hopes to be involved in the expansion of the federal government’s Syrian refugee sponsorship program.
Chair Sandi Digras said they are in regular contact with their chosen family, a young couple who met in a refugee camp in Jordan and now have a baby girl.
She said they are undertaking the longest possible route to bring refugees to the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, by selecting a specific family rather than taking whoever’s available, but they wanted to choose a Christian family that would fit in with their church organized effort.
She said the committee has been pleasantly surprised by their fundraising efforts, bringing in more than double their goal of $30,000, which will allow them to help pay the family’s travel expenses.
The government pays for non-government sponsored refugees’ travel in the form of loans which must be paid back, unlike those who fall under the sponsorship program.
Digras said at this point they are still doing all the complicated paperwork and the family is now ready to travel as soon as they are allowed.
To support or donate to the ongoing Church of the Ascension effort call Digras at 250-954-1991.
There are currently at least 16 private refugee sponsorship efforts in the mid-Island, including two others in Parksville Qualicum Beach, one through the Qualicum Refugee Support Group with St. Marks Anglican Church (firstname.lastname@example.org, 250-974-7031) and one through the Qualicum Community Baptist Church and Tim Hortons (email@example.com, 250-752-9123).