We are a group of concerned residents in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood in Toronto’s west end who have come together to form Roncesvalles Refugee Relief. Like many Canadians, we continue to be moved by the ongoing refugee crisis and the danger and devastation faced by many families fleeing Syria and other parts of the globe. We want to do something to help.
Our group is made up of neighbours and friends, joined by the desire to take action in our community. While we are a non-faith based group, we have come under the umbrella of Roncesvalles United Church and the United Church of Canada, which have considerable experience working with refugees.
With the funds we raised in 2016, we sponsored two Syrian families, living in UAE and Jordan, having fled their homeland. Both families arrived in Canada in July and September 2018! We are sponsoring a third family of 14 and have raised the funds for them. We expect them to arrive within two years (it takes so long!).
We have also been busy supporting newly arrived Government Assisted Refugees from Syria, Nigeria and Angola. We have collected bicycles and sewing machines from across Toronto and distributed them to refugees from Scarborough to Mississauga. We held a Winter Clothing Drive, and provided everything 'winter related' to more than 55 families. We have helped find housing and employment, assisted with resumes, provided furniture and household items, and taught English.
RRR is also doing a joint sponsorship with a refugee group in Australia who have raised the funds to resettle a family of a widowed mother and five daughters originally from Afghistan. They will be coming to Canada thanks to our exemplary refugee policies.
The two families first sponsored by RRR had to leave loved ones behind when they came to Canada. The newcomers have been successful in their resettlement. So much so that they have asked that RRR sponsor struggling families members now displaced to Jordan, Sudan, UAE and Lebanon. That is the focus of our current campaign.
Roncesvalles Refugee Relief members include:
[update list and contact info as needed] Joanne Green, co-chair Doug Bennet Barb Willitts, co-chair Balquis Zaman Lynda Perry Dirk Leemans Murray Green Maria Antonietta Smith Bruce Galloway Omar Khan Stephen Abram Stephanie Smith Abram Charlotte Nissenbaum Peter Nissenbaum Janice Keefer Michael Keefer Heather Reid Patti Hamilton Ray Van Eenooghe Sadia Zaman Luc De Nil Lieve De Nil Garry Beirne Anne Serazin Eva Stachiak Lisa Randall Cyril Almey Jan Killey Veronica Feihl Erin McCaughan