The Syrian conflict has resulted in the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time. It’s been five years since the onset of the civil war in Syria and there is no end in sight. Today, there are four million Syrians who have been forced to leave their country, and it continues to grow.
Canada is expected to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees over the next three months and one of the biggest hurdles they will face first is the wall of costs involved in setting up a home. Those costs will of course depend on where individuals and families resettle and how many members there are to the family. Current guidelines deem $27,000 as the minimum amount necessary to support private sponsorship of family of four for a year. Here are 5 ways you can help.
Furnishing a house can pack a mean dent into anyone’s wallet. Outfitting a home for a family of four on a fixed budget requires a whole other level of creativity and compromise.
Winter clothes donation
Veterans of Canadian winters past know layers are absolutely key to besting the bone-chilling effects of sometimes shocking encounters with windchill. To ready the country’s newest residents, charities across Canada are collecting new and gently-used winter clothing from warm woolly socks to coats to keep adults and children cozy through the winter months.
One of the costliest expenses involved in setting up a home can be for pots and pans, as well as cutlery and utensil sets. But before well-intentioned shoppers decide to pick up a kitchenware set on a whim, be sure to connect directly with private sponsors (if you know of them) or immigration and refugee agencies to check if it has a possible home to go to.
Those who are not in a position to sponsor a family can donate money to a registered Canadian charity to support relief efforts in Syria. The benefit of this option is every dollar donated is matched by the federal government via the Syria Emergency Relief Fund.
Alternatively, some settlement agencies also accept gift cards (for groceries or clothing, for example) for distribution to those in need. Just call local immigration and refugee houses to double-check which gift cards are accepted and if there’s a cap to how much value a card they can take.
Volunteers at refugee shelters play a vital role in helping families and individuals settle into their new communities. Some step forward to provide everything from babysitting, translation services, while other set aside an afternoon to help sort donations.
The Regina Open Door Society (RODS) is appealing to organizations, property owners and Arabic-speaking doctors to step forward to help ready Regina for hundreds of Syrian refugees. Contact the Regina Open Door Society for more information on how you make a difference.