Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make “A Christmas Carol” such a huge success on November 30. A close to capacity crowd delighted in hearing Dickens’ famous story again, delivered by five magnificent readers – Ben Heppner, Neema Bickersteth, Marion Newman, Rick Phillips and our own Patricia Garnett-Smith – all of whom donated their time and talent for the cause. And of course we enjoyed cider and gingerbread following in the spirit of the season. I am thrilled to let you know that we raised over $9,500 which includes a matching gift from a generous donor for the first $1,000 raised in $20 donations. All of this will go to support our sponsorship of the Abdo family thanks to the generous support of another donor who covered the costs of all the performance expenses. A big thank you to all of the volunteers who baked, served refreshments, welcomed our visitors and took up the collection. A special thank you to Dan Bickle, Rick Phillips, Helen Kampfmuller, Elizabeth Forster, Sarah Klapman, Dan Richards, Indra Narayansingh, the Aldbury Gardens Brass Quintet, Jordan Klapman and members of the St. Andrew’s staff for their invaluable contributions to the evening. As Tiny Tim said, “God bless us everyone!”.
Candace Brown, STARS Committee Chair
A Recap of our ongoing efforts: The war in Syria, which began in 2011 as a peaceful protest, has devastated the Middle Eastern Country and resulted in millions of people being uprooted and forced to flee. The Canadian Government, along with many private sponsors began the humanitarian effort to bring many of these families to begin a new life in Canada.
In 2015 the St. Andrew’s Refugee Support Team went into action – applying to sponsor a family and raising the funds necessary to bring one such family to Canada and to support them as they began a new life here. Through their efforts, funds were raised, needed household items were donated, and an apartment was found. Then in October 2016 they received the good news that a family, including mother, father and five children, originally from Aleppo in Syria, would be arriving in Toronto. Many members of the team were there to greet them at the airport and to welcome them to their new life.
Over the past two years, they have adapted to life in Canada. The children are in school, a new baby has arrived, and English lessons for mom and dad are continuing. Mom, Gulistan, and many of the children have volunteered here at St. Andrew’s in order to give back to those who helped them and to in turn help others.
Because of ongoing fundraising efforts by the Refugee Sponsorship team, this past August we were able to reunite Gulistan with her parents and sister, who had been living in Turkey. They arrived in Toronto on August 6th and are adjusting to life in Toronto. The efforts of the team, led by Candace Brown, Sally Martin and Betsy Nieuwland, show just what can be done when we all work together.