Update - February 25, 2016

Volunteer Offers
We have a very generous community here at the Unitarian Church of Montreal. Since we put out the call for volunteers, many of you have offered to help in some way. Many of you have offered donations of clothing, household items, etc. Since we may be several months away from the arrival of the families we are sponsoring and since we have no way to store items for this long, we are asking you to hold on to them for now. When the time comes one of our members has very kindly offered to store items, large and small, at his home for a few weeks. 

Meantime, we expect to be in touch with the families directly through Skype and email, and hope to learn from them some of what they will need and what is important for them personally and
culturally. They may not know about some basics they will need in Canada, but they will
undoubtedly be able to tell us about other things.

Several of you have offered language instruction in English. Although we may be able to take you up on this later on, the first language need will be for French. So far, only one person has been able to offer French instruction. We hope to find more. Quebec offers French classes for refugees and we will help our families access this service. Additional French classes may be very helpful.

Congregation votes to support 2nd family
At the special congregational meeting of Feb. 7 we voted to support a second refugee family. This family is presently in Lebanon and consists of four adults – mother, father, and two adult children. They had to flee for their safety, leaving everything behind. Their safety is still at risk, so we’d like to get them here as soon as possible. The family has an entrepreneurial spirit and experience. Both adult children speak English. We expect them to integrate fairly easily. The task force recently received  an email from one of them yesterday saying “I would like to thank each one of you very much for your help and for your sense of humanity.”

2nd Cultural Sensitivity Event
On Tuesday, March 1, at 7 pm there will be a roundtable discussion focusing on specific issues that Syrian refugee often encounter in Montreal. Participants will include long-time residents  and new arrivals from Syria. This promises to be a very interesting and eye-opening event. Everyone is welcome to attend. 

Fundraising Idea
One of our members reports that she posted a call on her Facebook page for donations to our
refugee sponsorship fund and her contacts have begun donating through Canada Helps. Maybe
others would consider doing this.