Cape Breton church surpasses fundraising goal to sponsor refugee family
A parish in Cape Breton has been overwhelmed by the generous response from the community towards Syrian refugees.
The St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish in Sydney, N.S., set a goal to raise $30,000 in four days – the estimated cost for a family of five to live for a year.
Campaign chair Owen Fitzgerald says the response from the community was immediate.
“The first day, $5,000 came in,” he said. “The second day, another $12,000 came in, and then we had money rolling in Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and we've surpassed our target.”
Donations were made by over 100 parishioners at Christmas mass. Though they’ve already reached their goal, donations continue pouring in.
Fitzgerald believes they are now able to sponsor another Syrian family.
“There's a lot to be done,” he said. “Let’s see if all of us working together can sponsor more than one family. I think this is growing into something much bigger. It's very exciting.”
Father Bill Burke says the images of Syrian children struggling elevated their desire to help.
“Yes, we have problems here, but (Syrians) are facing life and death,” said Burke. “To realize it's a result of a war they had no part in, I think people are responding to that.”
Fitzgerald says the struggles Syrians have faced hit close to home for some of the church's congregation.
“We have a history here too of the Syrian, Lebanese community here in Cape Breton, and part of our church even, that have contributed so much. They came here decades ago – they were refugees,” said Fitzgerald.
There's not an exact dollar amount of how much has been raised yet, but the parish will begin the process of formally applying to sponsor a Syrian refugee family in the new year.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.