Lifeline Syria-Cape Breton gets boost to help refugees

Lifeline Syria Cape Breton says support for bringing Syrian refugees to the island is growing, now the Sydney Credit Union wants to help.

Sydney Credit Union staff plan to donate proceeds from annual walk

A volunteer group called Lifeline Syria-Cape Breton is trying to bring refugees to the island. The Sydney Credit Union is helping by donating money from its annual walk. (Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press)

A volunteer group formed a month ago to try and bring Syrian refugees to Cape Breton says support for its efforts is growing now that the Sydney Credit Union wants to help.

The image of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy compelled staff at the Credit Union to take action, according to Credit Union marketing director Jennifer Griffin.

Her co-workers insisted on donating proceeds from their upcoming International Credit Union Day walk to the local refugee effort, known as Lifeline Syria-Cape Breton.

"A lot of us are parents and can't imagine ever being in a situation that we would have to deal with something that tragically horrible," she says. "That really hit home."

A poster promoting the walk to support Lifeline Syria-Cape Breton. (Sydney Credit Union/Lifeline Syria Cape Breton)

The federal government will support some refugees, according to John Malcom, who heads the fundraising committee for Lifeline Syria-Cape Breton. A family of four, for instance, could get up to $27,000. But many others will need community help.

"Many will come under a sponsorship program where somewhere between 25 and 50 per cent of that $27,000 will have to be raised locally."

Malcom said the group is trying to bring 1,000 refugees to the island. He believes moving to Cape Breton will benefit both the refugees and the community.

"Without new people coming to Cape Breton, we will not sustain the services that we've come to rely on here in our community," he says.

"Be that schools, be that health care, be that the economy, we need to actively welcome new Cape Bretoners to sustain our community."

Lifeline Syria-Cape Breton hopes to have some Syrian families in Cape Breton in the next six months to year, but organizers admit their work will most likely be a long-term effort.

The walk to support Lifeline Syria-Cape Breton goes ahead on Thursday between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. at the Townsend Street branch of the Sydney Credit Union. 


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