Refugee Sponsorship Forum – February Update

(*This update was provided by the Refugee Sponsorship Forum, who is working with the Local Immigration Partnership, of which United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin is a Leadership Council member.  United Way is working with many community partners to ensure refugee families and the agencies working with them are supported.)

Who are we? 
The Refugee Sponsorship Forum (Forum) is a community initiative of First Baptist Church that supports groups who are sponsoring refugees coming to Guelph and surrounding area.  The Forum is a member of the Syrian Refugee Support Consortium a volunteer-based, non-partisan initiative working to coordinate efforts among various faith and agnostic organizations, businesses and social services in the Guelph/Wellington area.

As a community, we are helping to settle more than 75 primarily Syrian refugee families in Guelph and area.  We are working diligently to ensure that their arrival and transition to Canada is smooth and welcoming.

What’s happening now in our community?
– 5 families settled and being supported by their sponsors in Guelph and Centre Wellington.
– 44 families or 185 people anticipated to arrive in our community in the first quarter of 2016:

  • 6 seniors (65+)
  • 105 adults (18-64)
  • 19 teens (12-17)
  • 34 kids (4-11)
  • 21 preschool (0-3)

– 26 private sponsorship groups have formed in our community and another 50 groups are forming with the help of Jim Estill and the Muslim Society of Guelph.

What is a sponsorship group?
A sponsorship group is 5-50 community members living in the local area who agree to ‘sponsor’ or welcome an arriving family.  Sponsorship groups must make provision for reception, care, lodging and settlement assistance and support for the sponsored refugees for 12 months from the date of arrival of the refugee or until the refugee becomes self-supporting and no longer requires settlement assistance. The group volunteers to help the newcomers navigate their new home, neighbourhood, city and country.  They help find suitable housing, language assistance, employment or educational opportunities, as well as connect them with services in the community.

What do we need for the arriving families?

We have enough plates, cups, linens, bedroom furniture, clothing, winter coats, jackets, boots, hats and mitts.

We still need household items, living room and dining room furniture, computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones donations.

Check out our Donate Now page for details.

How can you help?
Due to the unbelievable outpouring of support we have over 600 people registered as volunteers.  To ensure the quality of information is kept consistent we have decided to temporarily limit new volunteer applications starting on January 22nd.  If you want to join the wait list to volunteer in Guelph and/or have something to offer, please fill out the form on our Forum website.

Trucks: We have an immediate need for trucks and drivers to transport goods (we are looking for anything with a box around 20 feet, down to a cube van size with a 20 foot box with hydraulic lift being ideal). Please contact with offers.

Housing: We are looking for more long term housing (i.e. rent an apartment or house to a refugee family). If you have a place that is available please contact Chris Valeriote @

Monetary donations – please see our ‘Donate Now‘ page for a list of groups and organizations who can put your hard earned dollars to good use.
Questions on Syrian Culture?

Still have questions?

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