Sackville group raises more than $100K to sponsor refugee families

The Sackville refugee response coalition has raised more than $100,000, enabling the group to triple the number of Syrian refugee families it plans to sponsor.

Refugee response coalition had planned to raise enough money to sponsor 1 family but now plans for 3

Syrian refugees are being welcomed into New Brunswick communities. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

The Sackville refugee response coalition has raised more than $100,000, enabling the group to triple the number of Syrian refugee families it plans to sponsor. 

In just over six weeks the group has far exceeded its own expectations, and is now planning to bring in three families instead of just one.

John Perkin, chaplain at Mount Allison University and chair of  the steering committee looking after the project, says the response is "almost overwhelming."

"It's been quite staggering, what the generosity of the town has come through with," he said, speaking to Information Morning Moncton.
Rev John Perkin is chair of the Steering Committee of the Sackville Refugee Response Coalition. 8:11

Perkin says within 24 hours of officially launching the sponsorship campaign in mid-November, the group had already met its target of raising $30,000, the cost of bringing in one family. At that point, he says they decided to keep going.

"The money just flowed in.

"Long term we've got a two-year commitment as a steering group to see this through, not just to bring a family, but to help them integrate and later down the road, as we get to the summer, if funds are still there ... maybe we can bring in more people," Perkin said.

Perkin said people "really want to help," and they've been generous not just with money but with their time and skills, volunteering to act as second language instructors and setting up a website for the group, which he says should be ready next week.

The goal is to ensure the newcomers will be welcomed and integrated into the Sackville community, Perkin said, with everyone doing "what we can do to make a difference in our small corner of the world." 

He says the first family should arrive by mid-February, with the others coming soon after.