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Effort underway in Grand Falls-Windsor to host refugees

There’s a lot of ground to cover before they’re actually hosting the town’s newest residents but the Grand Falls-Windsor Refugee Outreach Committee has gotten the ball rolling toward that goal.

The Grand Falls-Windsor Refugee Outreach Committee includes, left to right, Butch Forbes, Terry Brown, Barbara Leyte, Rev. Randy Lockyer, Junior Burton, Art King and Councillor Bruce Moores. Missing from photo is Judy Crocker.

After a couple of meetings of late the group has officially declared its interest to the Association for New Canadians to host a Syrian refugee family.

The initial focus is on raising the required $17,000 - $10,000 of which must be included with the official application.

The effort is already drawing interest from groups, organizations, churches and individuals, noted Chairman Reverend Randy Lockyer.

“We certainly want to make this a community effort,” the chairman added, noting that there have already been generous offers from organizations and individuals.

The committee’s initial effort is going to include contact and solicitation of the organizations and businesses in town, noted Vice-chairman Butch Forbes.

“The idea is that (the businesses and organizations) would fundraise and we’d be the leadership,” added Grand Falls-Windsor Town Councillor Bruce Moores who also sits on the committee.

There is no established timeline for the effort but the chairman said his group wants to get the fundraising aspect taken care of “as quickly as possible.”

There are a host of matters to be attended to as it gets closer to actually hosting a family – housing, food, clothing, for example – and the committee intends to engage a larger group to divvy up the workload.

“We’re certainly going to need a lot of help later on,” added Lockyer.

“We’ll be forming subcommittees,” explained Moores, adding that if anyone has a lead on housing that would be suitable for a family they can contact a committee member.

The committee also includes Terry Brown, Judy Crocker, Barbara Leyte, Junior Burton and Art King.

While Burton currently sits as treasurer for the group he noted that anyone wishing to support the initiative could contact any member, even if they need someone to pick up a donation.

The committee also intends to set up a website so supporters can forward donations online.

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