Cape Breton church surpasses fundraising goal to sponsor refugees
Fundraising efforts to bring Syrian refugees to Cape Breton are taking on a life of their own at a Sydney church.
The St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish started out with the lofty goal of $30,000, but now they’re well on their way to doubling that amount.
"I feel thrilled to be part of this,” said campaign chair Owen Fitzgerald. “It's just amazing."
Fitzgerald says the church has raised roughly $48,000 so far.
"We really didn't decide to go beyond $30,000 – the community just drove us there,” he said. “It just kept going."
Parishioners continue to open their hearts and their wallets.
"As I'm walking out of church today, I hear people asking 'what can I do? How soon can I help?’” said parishioner Irene Khattar. “People are absolutely ready."
The committee reached their initial goal in just four days.
"I think it's a wonderful thing,” said parishioner Lil Macivor “I think the Lord is very happy with us."
Syrian refugee families have been settling in the Maritimes since Dec. 16, but Cape Breton has yet to welcome any.
The parish group says it’s working in close conjunction with Lifeline Syria, while being careful not to duplicate efforts.
"We could do a private sponsorship, but that's around $30k a family,” said Fitzgerald. “I think more likely we'll go toward what I believe is referred to as a blended sponsorship where government will pay half and we'll pay half."
The church’s original goal was to sponsor one family, but now they have the ability to sponsor more.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.