HILLSBOROUGH, N.B. – The spokesman for a group raising money to settle a Syrian refugee family in Hillsborough says they have received widespread support.
John Whitmore is with the Southern Albert County Refugee Team and says his group represents churches and around 400 people looking to help a family.
“I had a fisherman turn up the other day, drove all the way up from Alma to present me with a cheque,” he said, noting they are accepting private and group donations.
Whitmore says the Team needs $27,000 to sponsor a family for a year. But he says they could receive up to $10,000 under the federal government’s Blended Visa Office-Referred Program. The program provides up to six months of income support for a family.
Whitmore says local churches have also promised to provide an additional $10,000 if they succeed in bringing a family to Albert County.
Although support has been strong, he says they still need all the help they can get to settle a family in Hillsborough.
“Most of the people live in apartments in city and putting them into the woods of New Brunswick would be a real culture shock,” he said.
Despite the challenges, residents say they have the means to help. Karina Strohmayr says her teaching skills can benefit newcomers.
“I plan to help them with art and any other ways I possibly can where I do have that background it helps to communicate a little bit easier,” she said, noting others have come forward with English-language training.
The group is asking anyone in the County who wishes to help to make a donation to a local church.