By Jacque Friedland, Chair, Holy Blossom Refugee Task Force
In the fall of 2015, more than 100 Holy Blossom members gathered in the Philip Smith auditorium to do what Holy Blossom members have done for decades – to make plans to welcome the stranger. At that time, the discussions were about Syrian refugees. The conversations were not that different from 40 years earlier when Holy Blossom members came together to plan for welcoming Vietnamese immigrants. Now, it is time to join together once more and plan for the arrival of new Canadians from Afghanistan in addition to planning for the support that will be needed to welcome the nine people for whom we already have signed documents and are awaiting final permissions to travel to Canada. These include an Iranian Jewish woman currently held as a refugee in Australia, a Yazidi family in Syria, and two men currently in Israel – one from Eritrea and one from Darfur.
We are able to build on the tremendous success of the past six years during which time we have partnered with JIAS [Jewish Immigrant Aid Services] to support multiple families – Syrian, Yazidi, Rwandan, Eritrean, and most recently Nicaraguan. Our volunteers help find new homes; donate furniture, household goods, and clothing; arrange for phones and internet service; drive our families to school, medical, and other appointments; visit on a regular basis; assist with learning English; and so much more.
At this time, we want to connect with all those who are interested in assisting. Assistance could include the sponsorship of an Afghan family (or families) – either through financial support, front-line support in resettlement, or both – as well as support for the families we have already committed to. There are numerous ways for you to be involved in addition to acting as a sponsor. And there is an immediate need to support the family from Nicaragua, particularly with winter clothing (see detailed list at the end of this message).
The primary purpose of this communication is to collect names and information from those who are interested in participating in a wide range of activities as we once again extend ourselves to assist newcomers to Canada. Please reach out to Jacqueline Friedland, Chair of the Holy Blossom Refugee Task Force, through Rabbi Helfman, at [email protected] or call (416) 789 3291 ext. 277.
Specific Requests for Nicaraguan family
Two Children (boy and girl, twins, 3-years old)
- 2 snow pants and snowsuits sizes 3 & 4
- Jogger pants
- Winter jackets size 4
- Snow boots sizes 8 & 9
- Leggins for boy and girl size 4
- Flannel pajamas size 4
- Flannel bed linen (twin size beds)
- Long sleeves shirts
- Long sleeves T-shirts
- Ice breaker (or windbreaker) clothing
Two Adults (1 female size “M” & 1 male size “XXL”)
- Fleece shirts
- Fleece jackets
- Ice breakers (or windbreaker) clothing
- Winter coats (down)
- Winter jackets (down)
- Snow boots (sizes 7 for female & 10 1/2 for male)
- Long johns base layer (female “M” and male “XXL”)
- Corduroy pants
- Snow pants
Health-related need – dentist for children in Toronto