by Trisha Dempsey
We are thrilled to have had such a great turn-out and to have surpassed our fundraising goal for the evening. We raised $10,066 to go toward sponsoring a refugee family to come to Nova Scotia! The sold-out fundraising dinner was a huge success due to an amazing group of volunteers and the enthusiastic and generous attendees.
The dinner was a delicious Syrian meal with a tasty dessert. Our incredible volunteers prepared and served over 200 of these dishes! We had an impressive array of items to bid on in the silent auction, there was a raffle prize, educational programming and activities related to the refugee crisis and the war in Syria, as well as some inspirational speeches. We were deeply honoured that Arta Rexhepi accepted our invitation to speak about her experiences at our event. Arta is a former refugee who came to Halifax in 1999, after Canada airlifted her and her family from Kosovo's conflict zone. You can read about Arta's experience in an article she wrote for CBC News last year.
We were also pleased to have Councillor Steve Craig (District 15) attend our dinner. He gave us a shout-out on his Twitter account and included some photos from the evening.
This event truly was the outcome of so many people coming together and collaborating over the span of just a few weeks. I wish I could list you all by name to thank you, but there were so many of you I would be worried about accidentally missing one of your names! Please know, that all your efforts were noticed and appreciated. A huge thank you to all the volunteers who contributed to making this event a success!!!
So what's next for Refugees Belong?
We need to gather together the required core group of about 12 people who will be able to make the long-term sponsorship commitment and assume the legal responsibilities of refugee sponsorship. These group members will oversee and organize the necessary preparations that need to happen before the refugee family's arrival, and they will also be responsible for providing the family with practical and social support for the duration of one year after they arrive. We hope to have these group members confirmed by the end of November - at which point we will submit our initial application to ISANS (our sponsorship agreement holder). We will then be ready to engage with the broader community to organize more fundraising events and tackle some of the other preparatory steps (e.g. securing affordable accommodations for the family). You can read more about where we are at with our sponsorship process here.
There are a few upcoming fundraisers that will be hosted by other groups in Halifax, Antigonish, and St. Margaret's Bay area in the next couple of weeks. Be sure to check out their events as well!
Thank you so much for walking this journey with us! Nova Scotia is ready to welcome refugees!
Always remember - hope, love, and compassion are stronger than fear and hate. ♥