Across Canada and around the world, people are placing teddy bears on their porches in the aftermath of an unthinkable tragedy.
The bears are to show support for a Syrian refugee family in Halifax that lost all seven of their children in a house fire. The children were: Ahmad, 14; Rola, 12; Mohamad, 9; Ola, 8; Hala, 3; Rana, 2 and Abdullah, who was born in Canada in November, the Canadian Press reports.
The Barho family came to Nova Scotia in 2017 as sponsored refugees and settled in the Spryfield community outside Halifax. A fire swept through their home on Tuesday, killing all seven children. Their father, Ebraheim Barho, remains in critical condition in hospital after trying to save his family.
Their mother, Kawthar Barho, is so distraught that she just keeps repeating four-month-old Abdullah's name, Imam Abdallah Yousri of the Ummah Mosque and Community Centre in Halifax told the Canadian Press on Wednesday.
In the wake of this awful event, their community is rallying to honour the lives of the seven children and show their support for the family.
There is a pile of flowers and stuffed animals in front of the house today. Now a campaign has started to get people to leave a teddy bear or stuffed animal in front of their own front door today to show support for the family and honour the lives of the 7 children. #Spryfield pic.twitter.com/oMm7ItaKPD— Alicia Draus (@Alicia_Draus) February 20, 2019
By Wednesday evening, as hundreds gathered for a Halifax vigil attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, #Bears4BarhoChildren started trending on Twitter.
Nos pensées accompagnent les personnes en deuil à la suite de l'incendie à Spryfield. Que la famille, la communauté, les premiers intervenants ayant répondu à l'appel, et les personnes touchées par cet événement tragique puissent trouver du réconfort. #Bears4BarhoChildren pic.twitter.com/nHdnYBVfTQ— Ambulance N.-B. / Programme extra-mural (@ANB_PEM) February 21, 2019
The tribute was organized by Halifax's Angela Pellerine and her neighbour, Andrea Bennett, Global News reports. They live down the street from the Barhos, CTV reports. The two say they were inspired by the #putyoursticksout tribute last April that saw people placing hockey sticks on their porches for the 16 people killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
Bennett posted a public call to action on Facebook Wednesday morning, asking others to join in.
"I am at a loss for the Barho family and I know as a community we all want to do something to remember the lives of those 7 beautiful children. Angela Pellerine got me thinking and what if as a community tonight we place stuffed animals outside our doors in memory of the children, like the hockey sticks for the Humboldt Broncos players. What does everyone think?" she wrote.
"I can't even comprehend what this family is going through," Bennet told CTV.
"When you think of a child and what comforts a child, it's a stuffed animal," Pellerine told Global News.
Their initiative received immediate support across social media.
For the love of 7 children and their mother and father who are suffering with this unbearable loss. Bears wrapped in a blanket made by my recently departed mother. The closest to heaven I can give them. #bears4barhochildren pic.twitter.com/61ur6ZtmTg— Marianne Malblais (@M3M) February 21, 2019
Before Booba went home we gathered stuffies, large to tiny, 7 of them. One for each of the Barho children. We talked about what it meant to show solidarity in small ways like this.#Bears4BarhoChildren #halifax #Spryfield pic.twitter.com/dVodze83Oz— Girl Friday, but more like a shitty Tuesday (@girrl_friday) February 20, 2019
We kept lights on for Moncton & put Hockey sticks out for the Broncos. The community of #GovernorsBrook is asking that tonight a stuffed animal be left on people's doorstep in memory of the 7 Barho children taken tragically yesterday in a house fire.— West 🇨🇦 (@NavyBrat282) February 20, 2019
The fire struck not long after midnight on Tuesday morning. Neighbours told the Canadian Press they were awoken by a woman's screams and looked out to see flames that quickly engulfed the entire upper floor.
The family had fled war-torn Syria and, with the help of a private sponsorship group, came to Canada in September 2017.
A GoFundMe campaign for the Barhos created by family friends has already raised more than $430,000 to help pay for shelter and expected expenses. And businesses have joined in to support the family.
We are partnering with Vandal Doughnuts to donate all the proceeds of sales to the beautiful-hearted family affected with the deadliest house fire in the recent Nova Scotia history that lost the 7 kids. Stop by and show love— Peace by Chocolate (@Peacebychoco) February 20, 2019
2150 Gottingen St, Halifax @VandalDoughnuts pic.twitter.com/rFTDP50liY
A local chocolate company started by a Syrian refugee family, Peace by Chocolate, tweeted on Wednesday that it would be donating proceeds from all of its sales on Thursday to "to the beautiful-hearted family affected with the deadliest house fire in the recent Nova Scotia history."
Nine Locks Brewing Company posted that it would be donating proceeds to the Go Fund Me. And Sweet Beans Boutique, a children's resale store, posted that it would be donating proceeds as well.
- with files from Canadian Press
More from HuffPost Canada: