While we put up our Christmas trees, purchased last minute gifts, ordered our turkeys and secretly wrapped up presents, two of our Afghani families were doing something very different. They, with the help of brave friends, made their way out of Afghanistan and into Pakistan. The trip was perilous. Taliban check points had to be avoided and an open route through the mountains found. One of the families consists of a mother and three teenage children. They made the journey without their father who was taken off a bus by the Taliban last summer and has not been heard from since. The other is a middle aged couple whose son had already been sent out of the country before Afghanistan fell to the Taliban due to threats on his life because the father was involved in human rights activities. Once our refugee support group learned that the families were safely out of Afghanistan we could proceed with the paperwork. We have been kept very busy over the holiday season ensuring that the forms were done as quickly as possible. There is a long line up of refugees wanting to come to Canada and we want our families to get in line as soon as possible.
Maple Grove is not doing this alone. Munn’s United and Knox Presbyterian are also sponsoring families to come to Canada. Glen Abbey and St. John’s United are helping by fundraising. A keen and experienced neighbourhood group is having tremendous success fundraising and will be leading the settlement process of one family in partnership with Maple Grove. This is a job that requires many hands.
Our refugee support group would like to thank you for your generosity thus far. We would like to raise a bit more money if we can. Sharing this different kind of Christmas story with your friends and relatives will help.
To donate, just follow one of these steps:
1) Go to the Maple Grove United Church website https://maplegroveunitedchurch.org and press the “Please DONATE here” button at the bottom of the first page; click on “Afghani Refugees”. (See below for more information on how to.)
2) Drop a cheque off at the church. There is a drop-box on the brick wall near the doors off the parking lot at the back of the building.
3) Mail a cheque marked “Afghanistan refugee fund” to Maple Grove United Church, 346 Maple Grove Road, Oakville, Ontario, L6J 4V5.
100% of donations will go to the families’ needs as there are no administration or overhead costs. Everyone involved is a volunteer.
All donors will receive a tax receipt.