Edmonton's Mennonite Centre for Newcomers set up a fund with the hopes of crowdsourcing $10,000 over two months to support Syrian refugees. They hit that goal in a single day, thanks to a single donation.
When Erick Ambtman, the centre's executive director, went to see how the campaign had gone from a few hundred dollars to over its goal, he discovered it was thanks to Andrew Ference, one of the Edmonton Oilers' captains.
“To come across a local story like that and respond that quickly, speaks volumes towards the type of person he and his wife are. They are tremendous ambassadors for our community," Ambtman told News Talk 770.
As of Thursday, the Edmonton campaign had raised over $15,000.
The fund was initially intended to handle costs that refugees might not be prepared for, like damage deposits for renting a home or winter clothing. Now that it's off to such a successful start, the centre might be able to hire an employee to help with the settlement process, Ambtman told Metro News.
All of the donations are eligible for the federal government's Syrian Emergency Relief Fund, which matches every dollar contributed by Canadians.
Approximately 3,000 refugees are slated to arrive in Alberta by the end of the year.
"We're so determined as a community to support this influx and these families, it's amazing," he told CBC News.
The Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, together with the Islamic Family and Social Services Association and Mennonite Central Committee Alberta have brought 36 Syrian refugees through private sponsorships to Edmonton so far.
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