TeaMas 10: WELCOME HOME REFUGEES & Nepal Black review
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced to Parliament yesterday that the first plane carrying Syrian refugees will be landing at 9:15 p.m. TODAY at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. Because Christmas is known as the season of giving I thought now would be a great time to bring awareness to how you can help these people who have been forced to flee their homes and live in limbo until being able to resettle their families in a country very different from their own.
Because Christmas tends to leave a larger financial strain on some, I have put together three different ways to help even if you are strapped for cash this season.
1. Volunteer your time
Find a place in your community that needs help during the holiday season, even if it's just volunteering at a local soup kitchen or food bank. And if you can't find a place that is specifically helping Syrian refugees there are still a lot of people in need during the holiday season.
My favourite way to volunteer at Christmas has always been heading to my church to help pack and deliver Christmas hampers to needy families across Saskatoon. So call a local church or outreach centre, because chances are good that they will need your help just to help others.
2. Donate some old clothing or homewares
Anyone living in Canada knows that winters here can be harsh. Although this winter is expected to be extra warm (thanks El Nino) it will not be nearly as warm as the temperatures these refugees are accustomed to, so clothing, specifically winter clothing, donations will really help.
Chances are you have a few extra pairs of Team Canada mittens sitting around your house or a toque that just isn't your style anymore, so why not donate it to those who need it most while also showing how welcoming Canadians can be. Same idea goes for homewares and furniture: pots, pans and kitchen utensils can be pricy for someone resettling in a new country so if you are a semi-hoarder like myself why not declutter and get an instant karma boost for the Christmas season.
3. Sponsor a refugee/family
If you have a lot of extra time and cash this season, or have a group of work friends who are interested in pooling together resources why not sponsor a refugee coming to Canada. Check out LIFELINE SYRIA, a group dedicated to recruiting, training and assisting sponsors who want to donate both time and money in helping refugees acclimatize to life in Canada.
If you decide to sponsor you will be responsible for: helping locate housing and making sure household costs are covered; helping adults find jobs and registering children for school; and helping them find their way around their communities. But the biggest part of your job is being a friend and support system because you may be the only person they know when first arriving.
So that's it. Three ways to help our new Canadian brothers and sisters as they begin their lives in one of the politest and most welcoming countries in the world!