North Islanders 4 Syria

North Island residents begin process of bringing Syrian refugee family to Port Hardy

A group of North Island residents has begun the process of bringing a Syrian refugee family to Port

Hardy. “We’ve all been watching what’s happening and talking about doing something, and we decided we

wanted to do something to help,” said Chrystal Menzies, one of the members of the North Islanders 4 Syria

group. The group has been meeting for several weeks and have so far established temporary housing for the

family, located two volunteer instructors for English classes, found an interpreter, and made a good start on

raising the funds necessary to support this family. The group is officially responsible for financially, socially, and

emotionally supporting the family for one year, and have committed to extending beyond this timeframe should

the family need additional help. Malcolm Island’s Sointula Refuge Group is also bringing a Syrian family to

Canada. “There’s been tremendous community support already,” said Menzies. Based on Citizenship and

Immigration Canada’s detailed budgets for different family sizes, it was decided to sponsor a family of four. The

group took a unique fundraising strategy that requires each of the five members to ask six friends or groups to

commit to $50.00 a month for 12 months. This, combined with support from government under a blended funds

program, has them nearing their goal of $27,000.00.Community support, in the form of clothing, furniture, or

financial donations in any amount will help to make this project successful. An account in trust has been set up

at the Scotia Bank in Port Hardy. Equally important is the emotional support this family will need to feel

welcome in our community. Ultimately, the group wants the family to “feel accepted in the community and feel

welcome,” said Menzies.The North Islanders 4 Syria group is Michael Paul, Laura Field, Doug Abbot, Chrystal

Menzies and Dave (Dazy) Weymer. You can contact the group at 250-949-3049 (Chrystal and Dazy) email

ni4syria@gmail.com or find them, and the Sointula group, on Facebook.