Donations Helping Syrian Refugees Call Niagara Home

Regional Chair Alan Caslin presents a cheque for $25,000 to representatives of the Syrian refugee resettlement committee at St. Ann Parish. With him are Joan Crowther and Tim Crowther.

Efforts to resettle families from war-torn Syria in Niagara got a big boost on July 21, with Regional Chair Alan Caslin presenting $50,000 to two community agencies helping to bring people from that far-off land to a new life in Canada.

The Syrian refugee resettlement committees at St. Ann Parish in Pelham and the Armenian Community Centre in St. Catharines each received $25,000.

The money was raised after Caslin got the support of regional council to match funds donated by Niagara residents of up to $25,000. Those residents collectively donated $25,000 and more in short order.

The Region formed a management committee to review applications for funds from groups, looking at financial plans, the availability of volunteer support, and refugee sponsorship experience. Members of that review committee came from the Anglican Diocese, Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre, Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre Niagara Catholic District School Board, MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) Ontario, and the regional chair’s office.

Regional Chair Alan Caslin presents a cheque for $25,000 to representatives of the Armenian Community Centre refugee committee. With him are from left: Sam Tokadjian, Lucy Tchakarian, Gary Kavazanjian and centre board chair Joe Aghop.

Regional Chair Alan Caslin presents a cheque for $25,000 to representatives of the Armenian Community Centre refugee committee. With him are from left: Sam Tokadjian, Lucy Tchakarian, Gary Kavazanjian and centre board chair Joe Aghop.

Moses Moini, refugee program co-ordinator for MCC in Niagara, said late last year that the donations demonstrate the benevolence of Niagara residents when there are crises.

“The outpouring of generosity is just overwhelming,” he said.

Caslin said at the time that Niagara residents are quick to help when there’s a pressing need, especially for the less fortunate. “The citizens of Niagara have always been one to step up in times of need,” he said.

He said last week that the Region is excited to support the organizations playing key roles in resettling Syrians.

“Through the generosity of Niagara residents’ fundraising efforts, these organizations will help new families integrate as they make Niagara their home,” Caslin said in a news release.

Gary Kavazanjian, manager of the Armenian Community Centre in St. Catharines, said his centre has already resettled eight Syrian families in St. Catharines and is working on resettling nine more families with 27 family members.

“This money will help to ensure we can put these applications through much faster,” he told Niagara this Week.

Sponsoring refugees isn’t cheap: it costs about $12,600 for a single person or up to $32,000 for a family of six for a year of income support and startup costs ranging from basic furniture to linen.

Regional Chair Alan Caslin presents a cheque for $25,000 to representatives of the Syrian refugee resettlement committee at St. Ann Parish. With him are Joan Crowther and Tim Crowther.

Regional Chair Alan Caslin presents a cheque for $25,000 to representatives of the Syrian refugee resettlement committee at St. Ann Parish. With him are Joan Crowther and Tim Crowther.

Credits: Paul Forsyth, Niagara This Week, July, 25th 2016, http://www.niagarathisweek.com/news-story/6782878-donations-helping-syrian-refugees-call-niagara-home/