Looking for a way to help Syrian refugees?
Here are a few suggestions for steps you can take now.
1. Go to a performance
But fortunately, Light up the Night: a 5Rhythms Benefit Dance in support of Lifeline Syria and a Toronto scholarship fund is happening on Dec. 10.
Check Eventbrite and heyevent.com to keep tabs on other fundraising events for Syrian refugees.
2. Donate your points
This idea is courtesy of a member of the People of the East End Refugee Support Group.
You know those points you collect through credit cards and retailers? Some of them can be redeemed for gift cards to help newcomers defray costs from winter boots, to a meal out, to groceries.
Here’s the rundown of the points programs that offer gift cards:
- Petro-Points can be redeemed for a variety of gift cards at different retailers.
- HBC can be redeemed for HBC gift cards.
- Scene points are redeemable for a meal out.
- Esso points can be traded in for cash Esso gift cards.
- Air Miles cash points can be redeemed for e-vouchers for a variety of retailers, and HBC gift cards.
- RBC customers can redeem points for gift cards and financial vouchers.
- PC Points can be redeemed at Loblaws for their in-store gift cards.
- Aeroplan points can be donated directly to Lifeline Syria.
Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments.
Love this idea? Get in touch with Nina through the People of the East End Refugee Support Group, or by email at peers.groupsyria @ gmail.com to send them your gift cards.
3. Join a local group
Facebook is one place to look for a local group where you can meet other refugee supporters face to face if you don’t want to feel like a cog in the wheel.
The aforementioned People of the East End Refugee Support Group are holding a pub night for their members on Nov. 19 at the Fox and Fiddle on the Danforth. Starts at 7 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m.
Bonding with some like-minded folks may be the ticket to discovering how you can contribute and stay involved.
Check Facebook for a group in your neighbourhood.
4. Attend a workshop
With the federal government committed to settle 25,000 refugees by the end of 2015, Toronto organizers are getting ready.
The Arab Community Centre of Toronto wants to train volunteers who are fluent in English and Arabic (Dialects required: Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian, Palestinian, Iraqi, Egyptian). Assyrian & Kurdish speakers may also be required.
The ACCT Volunteer Training Workshop for Lifeline Syria is being held this Thursday, November 19 at the Arab Community Centre in Etobicoke.
Another workshop, Working with Iraqi and Syrian Refugees is hosted by the Refugee Women’s Mental Health Project for professionals and community organizers.
Topics include challenging myths and stereotypes, understanding the issues, developing better approaches and strategies to provide appropriate services and support.
The workshop is being held Nov. 24 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the Rexdale Community Hub.
5. Make a donation
Organizations large and small are fundraising to support Syrian refugee families. Here’s a list to get you started:
People of the East End Refugee Support Group is raising funds to support one family. Here’s their Tilt campaign.
Or if you want to help the helpers, Lifeline Syria is an organization that recruits, trains and assists sponsoring groups. Donate here.
And the Archdiocese of Toronto is still collecting donations for Project Hope.