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Refugee family drive off to good start here


Just three weeks after pitching the “Families for Families” initiative for Rainy River District to sponsor a Syrian refugee, the community already is one-third of the way to its goal.

Kathy Mueller noted that as of Monday morning, the total amount raised was $12,485 of the $35,000 target.

“We’re still trying to raise the money by Christmas Eve,” she remarked, adding they still really need people to come forward and donate to the cause.

Mueller stepped forward with the idea to help families in the conflict zone in the Middle East after everything she heard on the news.

Since local residents are so good about helping people within our communities and supporting those in need, she thought perhaps the district could open its arms to helping another family.

“We have had so many fundraisers that have been so successful,” Mueller remarked.

“I thought maybe we have room for another family or two that we can help out.”

Her idea was solidified when about 20 people turned out to a meeting she held back on Oct. 15 to strike a committee—a necessary step to support the application to sponsor a family.

Mueller is chairing the committee and, in order to expedite the sponsorship process, it is operating under the D.O.O.R.s to New Life Refugee Services run by the Catholic Diocese of Thunder Bay.

“We’re still encouraging people to get their friends and family involved,” she stressed.

“We’ve been at it for three weeks and we’ve reached a third,” Mueller noted.

“We’ve got eight weeks until Christmas so hopefully we’ll be able to reach our goal and then be able to give a Syrian or Iraqi family an amazing Christmas present—a chance for a new life.”

But she noted the committee can’t do anything else until it has raised enough money.

Mueller said it costs about $7,000 per person. So for a family of five, it would be $35,000.

Using the “Families for Families” model, it only would take 35 families willing to donate $1,000 each to reach the goal.

Mueller suggested a “family” could extend to include siblings, children, aunts, and uncles—or even a group or organization.

“A family could be a family of church members, for example, 100 people giving $10 each,” she noted, adding a “family” could consist of relatives, a group of friends, or people living in the same apartment building.

“It would take only 35 such ‘families’ to raise enough money,” she reasoned.

But Mueller added people can give what they are able to.

“People have been really good,” she enthused. “I had a couple yesterday who told me that they decided they are not going to give presents to each other and their adult children.

“Instead, together, they decided they are going to give their money to the refugee fund.

“So that’s wonderful.”

Mueller added other local churches and groups are stepping forward.

In fact, Zion Lutheran Church here is hosting a “Families for Families” fundraiser—a “Baron of Beef” dinner—next Friday (Nov. 13) at 6 p.m.

The meal will include Yorkshire pudding, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, peas and carrots, salads, buns, and dessert.

Tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for children 10 and under, which are available from Todd Moxham (274-6059) or at Northwoods Gallery & Gifts.

As fundraising progresses, watch the thermometer in the Fort Frances Times.

There also soon will be a large thermometer placed outside the museum to let people watch as the goal nears.

Donations can be dropped off at the CIBC in Fort Frances or brought to St. Mary’s Church on Monday to Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

E-transfers also can be made to

Charitable tax receipts will be issued for donations of $20 or more.

Make cheques payable to St. Mary’s Church, with “Families for Families” on the memo line.

For more information, call Mueller at 274-0583.

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