Recent attacks in Paris and Beirut and haunting pictures of three-year-old Alan Kurdi washed up on a beach have brought the refugee crisis to the top of our minds and hearts this fall. Many of us want to help, but are daunted by the logistics of it all. Here’s a realistic guide to the things we can all do to help Syrian refugees.
Donate to Aid Organizations Working in Syria
At this stage in the conflict it’s too dangerous for regular civilians to travel to Syria to try to help. But you can give money to some of the people who are there, helping people on the ground. It’s one of the simplest and yet most helpful things you can do. Many organizations are feeling the financial strain of a crisis that has been ongoing for four years. Furthermore, the Canadian government will match cash donations made in response to the conflict in Syria until December 31, 2015.
Here are some of the many reputable organizations helping out with frontline services:
World Food Programme
Providing nutritious food for the hungry and the needy, the World Food Programme is the food assistance branch of the United Nations. It’s 100% voluntarily funded, so it really needs people’s help and donations in order to continue doing great work. Simply select Canada as the country of residence, then select Help Syrian refugees (or whoever else you wish to donate to). Choose your tax-deductible donation and pay.
This child-focused humanitarian organization works to guarantee the wellbeing of children that have already been saved. The United Nation’s child fund understands that just because a child has been rescued from death or starvation does not mean they have reached a level of security and comfort. Buy a blanket for a baby, a tetanus pack for a mother and her child, or send urgent aid to wherever is most needed.
Sponsor a Syrian Family
If you’re looking to do more than donate money, and have some serious organizational and fundraising skills, consider sponsoring a family. It’s not an undertaking to be taken lightly’by all accounts it is a lot of work. But it can be done! The best way is to get your community together’your church, school, or neighborhood, and make it a group effort. With a committed team, it’s do-able. We know a few savvy moms currently working towards this goal, and they’ve found this website by a Toronto school to be very helpful and inspiring as a jumping-off point.