The West Kootenay Friends of Refugees (WKFoR) held a concert on Saturday night to help raise money to support the next family it sponsors.
The concert was a success and allowed the WKFoR to raise $4500. Additional donations from those who couldn’t make it brought the total to over $5000.
Though the Friends of Refugees aren’t yet sure where its next refugee family will come from, they have been trying to sponsor a family from Syria.
“There has been so much demand that we’ve already applied for about ten families and been too late. Somebody else has snapped them up,” said Jill Peacock, one of three coordinators at WKFoR.
The WKFoR has been applying for families through the Blended Visa Office Referral program, a federal program under Citizens and Immigration Canada. This is the same program the organization used to bring in its first two refugee families and is the fastest way for a group like the WKFoR to bring in refugee families.
“So once or sometimes twice a week we get lists from the people who run that program of Syrian families that are available, and I’d say on average, each time a list comes out there are about probably fourteen families on it,” explained Peacock.
Because the WKFoR can only offer a small one-bedroom suite, they have been trying to sponsor a family of three, either two parents and one child, or one parent and two children. There have only been eight or ten families of that size so far, and so far the WKFoR hasn’t responded quickly enough to snap one up.
The Friends of Refugees got an extra funding boost when a Bhubble thread unexpectedly lead to six individuals pledging $100 donations, and a Bhubble administrator offering to match the first $500.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to see that kind of community interest and support,” said Peacock.
Christmas is also bringing out donations. The Grade 2 class at RSS is raising money for the WKFoR for its Christmas project, and the Rossland Youth Action Network’s Me to We Club will be raising money for the group during Rekindle.
Those wishing to help the West Kootenay Friends of Refugees can make contributions at the Nelson and District Credit Union or send cheques to WKFoR at PO Box 1957, Rossland, V0G 1Y0.
More information about the WKFoR can be found at wkfor.wordpress.com or on their Facebook page at facebook.com/wkfor/?fref=ts.