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 have been moved by the current 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.
Policy Options article that mentions the successful RRR Initiative:
"Among the many successes have been the Roncesvalles Refugee Relief, a volunteer-led organization and sponsorship group in Toronto, and the network of academic institutions supporting sponsorship known as the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge. But there have been a lot of challenges for those working together to sponsor refugees. Those challenges along with the program’s needs and best practices are in urgent need of a full and deep analysis if Canada is to keep its gold standard and achieve its humanitarian goals." The Cracks in Our Admired Private Refugee Sponsorship Program The ‘gold standard’ model that allowed ordinary Canadians to help settle Syrian newcomers is invaluable, but its shortcomings must be fast addressed.
Our group is made up of more than forty-five 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 Bloor Street United Church and the United Church of Canada, which have considerable experience working with refugees.
With the funds we raised in 2016, we have sponsored two Syrian families, one from UAE and one from Jordan.Both families have arrived in Canada in July and October 2018! We are sponsoring a third family of 13 and have raised the funds for them. We expect them to arrive withing two years (it takes so long!). We have sufficient funds to support each family through their initial year as residents of Toronto. 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.
Now we have taken on a new challenge!We have decided to sponsor a third family of 13, and are now fundraising the $84,000.00 that we must secure BEFORE we can submit our sponsorship application to the United Church of Canada.We invite you to join with us in our fundraising efforts!Every penny we raise goes toward the sponsorship and support of the refugees we are involved with. Roncesvalles Refugee Relief members include:
Joanne Green, co-chair Albert Allen Barb Willitts, co-chairBalquis ZamanJohn Tyerman Lynda Perry Dirk LeemansJohn Schaffter Bruce Galloway Doug Bennet Jane Almey Murray Green. Erin McCaughan Jan Killey Garry Beirne Abby Bushby Jan Almey Stephanie Smith Abram Cyril Almey Jameel Bhamal Stephen AbramJanice Keefer Heather Reid Stanleigh Cole Jane Craig Ray Van Eenooghe Luc De Nil Veronica Feihl Rene Foisy-Marquis Christine Higdon Lieve De NilEva Stachiak Michael Keefer Arlene Miller Charlotte Nissenbaum Peter Nissenbaum Emna Roze Anne Serazin Harry Skura Jennifer Wells Rosemarie White Sadia Zaman Patti HamiltonKailea Lorensen Lisa Randall Omar Khan Lisa Straus Michael Stewart