06/22/2017 13:56 EDT | Updated 06/22/2017 15:01 EDT

'Still feel there's hope:' Saskatchewan town behind family facing deportation

MOOSOMIN, Sask. — The community of Moosomin in southeastern Saskatchewan is raising money for a family facing deportation to Honduras next month.

The Santos family came to Canada seven years ago after witnessing a murder in the Central American country.

Family members say their own lives are in jeopardy should they be sent back as planned on July 5.

Moosomin residents have stood behind the family and organized a fundraising lunch.

The money is to go towards their legal battle and — if they are deported – to help them resettle in Honduras.

Upwards of 500 people were expected to come out to support the family.

“We still feel there’s hope for some intervention by either government officials or border services themselves to stay deportation,” said Russell Slugoski, one of the lunch's organizers.

He hopes a strong show of support will send a message to the government.

“Hopefully this will appeal to their sense of humanitarianism and compassion,” he said ahead of the Thursday lunch. “I wouldn’t ignore that if I was being lobbied to consider this.”

He said the fight to stay has been happening for nearly seven years now – with many failed appeals – and it has taken its toll.

“It’s wearing on them. They’re now feeling ... the time is closing in on them.

“They’re remaining optimistic as we are and that will remain until the last minute."