Who or what is the Emmanuel Refugee Care Collective (ERCC)?
The ERCC is a group of people within the community of Emmanuel Church who are working to bring a Syrian Refugee family to West Kelowna.
Why are you doing this?
We are moved by our compassion for refugees, and compelled by our Christian faith that calls us to love our neighbours wherever in the world they live. In the face of immense suffering in the Middle East, we feel that we have to act.
Who are you bringing here?
We have identified a young widow and her six children as the family we want to help. This woman’s sister and her family were brought here over 2 years ago and our aim is to reunite these families.
How long will it take to bring them here?
The initial number of refugees were brought in quickly, as part of the Liberal Party’s promise to resettle 25,000 refugees in Canada. Now that that number has been met, the process has slowed considerably. The application has been approved and we are now waiting for their arrival. UPDATE: Our family arrived on May 17, 2018! You can see their arrival here.
Why isn’t the government doing this?
We are working with the federal government to do this. There are three ways people can sponsor refugees to come to Canada: as a Community Sponsor -service groups would work this way; as a Group of Five -five private individuals and other co-sponsors can sponsor refugees; as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) and Constituent Group (CG) -churches would fall under this category, with the church’s national head office being the SAH and the local church being the CG. That is how ERCC is functioning.
With so many needs here already, should the government be spending the money to sponsor refugees?
A major part of our responsibility is to raise all the funding privately. For a family of seven, it is expected that we need to raise $37,000 in cash or in kind to provide for one year’s needs for the family. However, given the cost of living here in the Okanagan, we estimated we would likely need to raise closer to $50,000, and are now very close to that goal. We are also responsible to help the family integrate into life here by finding accommodation, showing them how to use public transit, helping with learning English, how to bank, and in finding work, etc. We are prepared to work with the family for longer than a year, and anticipate an ongoing and rewarding relationship with them. The family will receive “permanent resident” status upon their arrival, which will qualify them to receive child tax credits, etc, and eventually, citizenship.
But isn’t this still going to be a burden on our economy?
Studies have shown that refugees contribute to the economy. Many come to Canada with skills, and some go on to start their own businesses.
Should Canadians be concerned about their own security and safety?
No. Families and individuals are screened thoroughly at the point of origin before being approved for resettlement in Canada. As part of the process, the family must also apply to be sponsored, which they have done.
How can I help?
Just by reading this, you have begun to help. Educating ourselves as to the issues is a vital and initial part of the process to ease the suffering in the world. Our greatest need right now is to continue to raise funds, and to find the family housing close to public transit, here in West Kelowna. Donations through Emmanuel Church are tax deductible and every dollar goes directly to ERCC (the church pays any processing or administrative fees related to giving online). If you would like to know how else you can help, please contact Emmanuel Church at 250.768.7638, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the ways I can give?
You can drop off a cheque at the Emmanuel Church Office. You can also pay digitally using:
Text2Give. Text the word “give” to 778.764.1105 and then follow the prompts. One of the options should say “Refugee”
Paypal. At the bottom of this page (as well as at the top of our front page on our website), you will see the words “Giving” and “Click here.” Click on the link, and then click on the big button that says “Give Online”. Fill out the regular Paypal information, and then, once you review your donation and go through the security questions, click on “add special instructions” and in the space provided write “ERCC” or “Refugee Fund”.
Thank you so much for making a difference in uniting families.