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Five Years After the Boy on the Beach
  From an article in La Press newspaper, written by Paul Clarke, Executive Director, and Cathy Nguyen and Emily Woods, coordinators of the Sponsorship Program at Action Réfugiés Montréal
Five years ago, a photo was pub- lished around the world. The image of Alan Kurdi’s body, a small Syrian boy, on a beach, drowned while his family tried to seek safety, spurred a reaction rarely seen. At Action Ré- fugiés Montréal, a PCC-supported ministry, journalists contacted us, trying to understand the scope of the Syrian refugee crisis and, impor- tantly, how people here in Montreal, Hawkesbury, the Laurentians and elsewhere could lend a hand. We shared our expertise on television, radio and in print. People here in Can- ada with family members in refugee situations elsewhere also contacted us, trying to find a way to bring their families to Canada. Our phones were overwhelmed with offers to help: fur- niture, apartments, clothing, meals at home and coffee. Churches and in- dividuals called us, wanting to spon- sor Syrian families. Men and women, foundations and corporations sent us financial donations, often unsolicited. This one image quite unexpectedly
In 2019, participants of Cyclical PCC were able to meet in person. In 2020, they adapted by meeting online and opening the conference up to others.
away lands. The pandemic caused a temporary immigration halt for over four months, and an extremely harsh, abrupt reduction in the number of ar- rivals of sponsored refugees this year. People who have already waited years for their files to be processed now are forced to wait even longer, as are those living with extended family separation.
And of course, not only Syrians need protection: organizations like ours have received applications for sponsorship from countries like Bu- rundi, Iraq, Eritrea and Afghanistan, among others. Quebec has greatly reduced the number of sponsor- ship files accepted. Recently, the allotment for files submitted outside Montreal was not reached. We sug- gested flexibility to reapportion the quotas to at least offer sponsorship spaces to the number of people origi- nally planned. Notre gouvernement refused our suggestion, so even fewer people than planned will arrive. A government that can’t seem to ac- knowledge systemic racism refuses to meet its already miserly low quota for refugee sponsorship. A govern- ment that declares thanks to “les an- ges gardiens” offers permanent resi- dence to some, but sees those who
do the cleaning or provide security as not angelic enough.
Five years after the photo of Alan Kurdi was published, our attitude is quite well defined: Gratitude, for the effort put forward by all segments of Canadian society to reach out a hand to refugeed people seeking solutions; Resolve, to continue to advocate for refugee rights, both for refugee claimants and for shorter wait times for sponsorship files; Confidence, in the willingness of our neighbours— including individuals, faith com- munities and corporate entities—to continue to support the work of or- ganizations that accompany refugeed people upon their arrival in Canada.
Five years ago, a photo of a trag- edy inspired so many of us to reach out. We know that compassion and justice for refugeed people will con- tinue to provide hope to people here and far away.
created a cavalcade of generosity and caring.
Since then, over 40,000 Syrian ref- ugees have arrived in Canada. They have learned French and/or English. The children are in school. People have found or created jobs. Much has been done, and we are thank- ful many people are living in safety. But when we talk to some of these folks about this anniversary, it brings tears: reminders of the difficult jour- ney to Canada, the uncertainty they lived, and the numerous relatives lost due to war or while trying to flee. Many here in Canada still have family members living in difficult situations
and hope that they might be reunited somehow.
Much remains to be done. Many Syrians are still in Syria, many are in neighbouring countries. A large cohort lives in Lebanon, a country currently in crisis. Children there are lacking nourishment and educa- tion. Parents have lost their jobs and means of supporting their families. Many are afraid, lacking money, food and housing. The Montreal Gazette recently reported that the pandemic has increased disparities in Mon- treal between well-to-do families and newcomers; we know this is also the case for refugeed people in far-
   Supporting Employment and Social Connections During COVID-19
  Gordon and Geraldine McCauley at the Blue Jays baseball home opener last year. His description: “Me and my best friend, partner, lover, devoted wife of 39 years, mother of my children, fash- ion consultant and greatest earthly treasure.”
By Lacey Kempinski, Raw Carrot Community Engagement staff member
The past six months have presented us all with new challenges and a new understanding of employment as COVID-19 changed the way we work. Many of us were fortunate enough to have adjustments to our employment, some of these changes meant we worked from home, or
connectedness, for the almost-30 employees at the Raw Carrot. While navigating a global health pandemic, the social relationships and addition- al income Raw Carrot staff receive from their employment has never been more important.
Like donations to Presbyterians Sharing and PWS&D, the McCauleys’ generosity demonstrates God’s amaz- ing love in action. Through sharing the diverse work that our denomination is involved with, we can increase our im- pact and give to those ministries that resonate within our areas of passion.
As a social enterprise, the Raw Carrot relies on both the sales of their handcrafted gourmet soup and the generosity of their community of donors, including Presbyterians Sharing, to fulfill their mission of providing meaningful employment to
those living with physical, mental and developmental disabilities.
To learn more about the Raw Carrot and how you can get involved
(or purchase soup!) please visit
ensured we had access to personal protective equipment.
Most of us still interacted with colleagues virtually, had family sur- rounding us at home, and scheduled phone conversations and online chats with friends.
Others were faced with challenges of maintaining employment, and ex- perienced social isolation as they faced time away from family, friends and colleagues.
One lesson was clear: the value of social connection remains so very impor tant.
Gordon and Geraldine McCau- ley understand this well. Gordon is the president of Prodigy Graphics in Vaughan, Ont., a Canadian trade-only printing pioneer. With a team of em- ployees and remarkable family beside him, he understands the impor tance of social connectedness, and the role employment plays in creating bonds.
This is why Gordon and Geraldine chose to make a $12,000 gift to sup- port the Raw Carrot. The McCauleys’ donation is the single largest offering from private citizens that the Raw Car-
rot has received. In a time when chal- lenges are numerous, generosity from the heart is making a big impact, en- suring individuals living with physical, mental and developmental disabilities haveaccesstomeaningfulemploy- ment—and social connectedness.
After reading about the work of the Raw Carrot in Glenbrook Presbyte- rian’s annual report, the McCauleys were inspired to dig deeper and learn more about an organization aiming to provide a hand up to those strug- gling, in lieu of a hand out.
As strong supporters of frontline missions like Evangel Hall Mission and Square One Open Door, the Mc- Cauleys feel called to purposefully search out organizations, like the Raw Carrot, that answer the ques- tion posed in James 2:14 (“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?”) and help support them to do the work that God has called them to.
And that is what they have done. Their incredible gift will help provide meaningful employment, and social
RawCarrotKitchenManager,Karen,(left)andstaffmemberLorichoppingveggies for soup.
Presbyterians Sharing provides support
to Action Réfugiés Montréal as it offers hope to refugees.
 Presbyterians Sharing supports innovative mission programs in Canada that make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people.

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