Monthly Archives: February 2016

Do you have any household goods you’d like to donate?

While we’re waiting to find out who our family will be, and when they will arrive, we’re starting to make plans for setting up a home for them. Since we don’t yet know any details about our family, such as how many kids there will be and their ages, we are holding off on committing ourselves to an apartment or house.  But we do know there are things that most families will need, like kitchen utensils, linens, or a telephone or shopping cart.

We’ve made a list of these items using a nifty web site called, which  works like a gift registry.  If you want to donate something that we need, all you need to do is click a button, enter a few details, and boom! You’re inscribed.

When we find out the details about who our family is, and when they will arrive in Toronto, we’ll contact you with details about how items will be collected.  We would ask that you continue to hang onto them for the time being. If this is a problem for your, please email us at [email protected], and we’ll see we can make alternative arrangements for storing items.

Note: for some items, like beds, we don’t know the exact numbers that we’ll need.  So, we might find ourselves in the fortunate situation of having more offers than we can make use of.  If that happens, we’ll try our best to find an alternate use for your donation.

Thanks in advance!

P.S. A special shout out to volunteer Michelle F., who is coordinating the information about donations of household goods. Thanks, Michelle!



It’s official – we’ve applied to have a family assigned to us!

We are delighted to be able to announce that we have officially applied to be taken into consideration when the next “release” of refugee cases is made available by  Citizenship and Immigration Canada in March.

That said …

… It might be some time before a family is assigned to us.

While there are many refugees coming into the country each month, there’s a limited number of refugees made available for private sponsorship in the “Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR)” category that we are hoping for. Most of what you have heard about in the news about the 25,000 Syrian refugees that the government has committed to resettle by Feb 28th, 2016 are Government-Assisted Refugees – refugees that are resettled in Canada by the federal government directly, as opposed to through private sponsorship.

There is another category of private sponsorship, known as “Named Cases”. These are instances where a sponsoring group identifies a specific refugee family to be reseted. We are not pursuing a named case, because it can take many, many months, more than a year, perhaps, before the individuals are reviewed and approved by the government. The BVOR program is preferable, because with families being  partially vetted by the UNHCR, the government can complete its checks more quickly … which means a family can be resettled more quickly.

The BVOR cases that are made available for sponsorship are offered to groups across the country … so we will keep our fingers crossed that we are matched with a family soon.  We have tried to be flexible in who we have said we will support. For example, we have not said we want a family of 4, with two parents and two children; apparently this is what many groups ask for, and there are actually a limited number of families like this. Most are larger, with 5, 6, 7 or more family members.  The housing stock and the cost of living in Toronto poses some hard constraints on the size of the family we can help, but we are aiming for one that can be reasonably accommodated in a 3-bedroom apartment or house.

In any case, we will keep you posted as developments happen. Wish us luck!

We have met our initial goal of $50,000!


Our initial goal of $50,000, set before refugees started arriving in numbers, was to sponsor a family of four. As the flow of Syrian refugees has increased, we now know the majority of families coming to Canada are between 5 and 7 members.

We’ve met the basic sponsorship amount for a family of 6 to resettle in Ontario, but the cost of living in Toronto is higher than in other Ontario communities. In addition, we’ve learned there is some question as to how much financial support the government might offer for travel and living expenses.  To be prepared for this, and for potential dental and medical expenses not covered by government programs and to be able to set up our family up for every possible success, we are raising our goal by $25,000 to build a buffer to better support the resettlement of a family of 6 or 7. 

There are more than 14 million refugees of concern to the United Nations, more than 4.5 million registered from Syria alone. If any funds are left over, they will help with the sponsorship of our next family.

Again, thanks very much to those who have contributed. If you haven’t donated yet and would like to help, please go to

Temporary (and longer-term) accommodation needed! 

Before our application to sponsor a refugee family can go forward, we need to find a place for our family to stay for 2 – 6 weeks when they arrive in Toronto.

Because we don’t yet know how many are in the family we will be welcoming or precisely when they will arrive, we must wait until they get here to rent longer-term accommodation.

We might have less than a week’s notice of their arrival and a furnished temporary space with two bedrooms would be ideal, but not essential.

If you know of a house or apartment where a family of up to 6 could stay either on a temporary or longer-term basis (or both!), for rent or temporarily rent-free, please contact us at [email protected] or call Allan at 416-526-6237.