Too many church hats - and a trip to the airport to greet Syrian refugees arriving in Canada.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

December 10th, 2015


“I really have too many church hats” said Mary Carey, the woman at Port Nelson United Church who stood up at the public meeting held at the Mainway Recreation Centre held to share information about the refugees that were coming to Canada

The Gazette wanted to follow up on what she learned and was trying to arrange an interview. “I will be out this evening working the sound system for our Women’s Christmas Communion. I might be able to speak with you tomorrow early afternoon if I have some time between my Acclaim Health palliative visit and going to the airport to meet the refugees.

Dec 2 meting crowd

An attentive Burlington audience listening to how they could help refugees wanting to come to Canada.

A week before the public meeting the Gazette got a call from a regular reader who said she had a three bedroom house she was going to be moving out of and had planned on selling. “I think I want to make the house available to a refugee family but I’m not quite sure who to talk to – any ideas” she asked.

The aircraft are on their way to Canada with more than 150 refugees who will land in Toronto this evening. Getting them through the process and into homes before the end of the day is going to be confusing, tiring and exhilarating.

But come Friday morning – they will be among us and the beginning a new life.

The refugee crisis became more real for Canadians when the picture of the boy on a beach, dead of drowning. At the time it didn’t look as if the Canadian government was going to be doing very much for those refugees.

A federal election; a new government and then the decision to bring 25,000 refugees to this country and the mood of most Canadians changed.
And now we have hundreds of people in Burlington involved.

Drowned boy on a beach

The family may make it to Canada – this boy didn’t – the boat he was in capsized and he was drown as they fled their war torn country.

One couple who are always seen at public events became part of a group of 18 that were going to sponsor a family.  “We found a family” said the man “and they will be joining with people they know who happen to live in Hamilton. It didn’t matter to us where they lived – we just wanted to help some people.”

Most of the people who are putting up the $30,000 that has to be in place before a private sponsorship is approved do not want their names published. “This isn’t about us” explained another sponsoring family,  “this is about doing what Canadians are always doing – helping.”

The public meting that started it all in this city.

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