Sep. 5, 2018

You can help to make life better for a refugee family

Okay folks, we need your help. We have a new refugee family in Nanaimo, a mother and four kids  from nine to 18 years old, a nine-year-old girl and three boys 14-18 years old. Their father disappeared in a refugee camp.

They came her in a circuitous route from Eritrea, via Ethiopa. They have no source of income, and government assistance takes forever to get started.

My former boss at the Daily Free Press, Clyde Wicks, has taken on the challenge of helping them get on their feet in Nanaimo. The kids speak English and are registered in schools.

They have temporary accommodation and Clyde has been helping with food and other incidentals. Their great neighbours have been a tremendous help. The only rental that was available when they arrived is way over what they can afford, even with help. A number of Clyde’s friends have been helping, but that’s temporary. They need something more affordable for the long term.

Clyde and I met with MLA Len Krog regarding programs for situations such as this, but the wheels of government churn ever so slowly. That’s part of the problem, they need help in the meantime.

A number of businesses have provided after-school and weekend jobs for the boys. That, of course, means transportation. If anyone has an adult-size bicycle to donate to the cause, that would be an immense help.

The boys are also involved in soccer, so if you or anyone you know has a pair of soccer boots, size nine and 11, they would get a lot of use.

Money is also a big boost. A process has been set up through an established charity to provide tax deduction receipts for financial donations. Donations should preferably be made by cheque. The amount doesn't matter, large or small.

If you have any questions or need donations picked up, please call me at 250-616-0416 or email merv.unger@nanaimonet.com to answer any questions.

Nanaimo has a reputation as a very caring community, so let’s live up to that and each do a little to help these people. It’s the right thing to do.