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December 9, 2016

Brockton Area Refugee Team engages wider community to reach sponsorship goals

The Brockton Area Refugee Team (BART) is eagerly waiting to hear its name called as the newest refugee host team, and first in its community.

Based out of Brockton, Ontario, BART is an ecumenical group of compassionate and caring people who have come together with the common goal of sponsoring a refugee family.

Although the group is currently placed 40th on a waiting list, their hope has not faded.

Dorothy Frook, long-time vice chair of the Eastern Synod, and member of Trinity Lutheran Church, believes that BART will have their refugee family within the coming year.

“We do not yet know how many refugees we will be taking on, but we made it clear that we would take anywhere from one to seven people,” Frook said. “We are hoping to have our family by next July. As a whole, we are attempting to raise $40,000 to support this family; the funds are coming in by way of fundraisers, and we plan to continue in that regard. We have had many donations already – it is a very exciting time.”

Brockton is a rural community made up of two former townships and the town of Walkerton.

So how does such a small community come together to sponsor a family? It works because the people of all faiths and walks of life focus on social justice, and work together with the common goal of sponsoring a family of new Canadians.

“We have about 40 volunteers,” Frook revealed. “Some will do hospitality, and our ecumenical congregations are planning fundraisers. We have a Facebook page, and have been advertising through the churches, local newspapers and by word of mouth. The town of Hanover – which is about 10 minutes east of us – already has two families, and that has served as motivation for us moving forward.”

Along with advertising their campaign throughout churches and other organizations, Frook says that one of BART’s members came up with another great idea that has already helped bring in additional funds for the commitment.

“One of our fundraising chairs made up what we like to call a ‘Fund-O-Meter’,” she said. “So first of all, we took the Fund-O-Meter to Walkerton for our homecoming in July, and we set it up with the faith committee. We had a lot of donations from children in particular, who wanted to put their money in the special Fund-O-Meter.”

But it not just the Fund-O-Meter that is helping out the Brockton and Area Refugee Team. As Frook points out, the support and funding thus far has been “much appreciated”, but there is lots of work left to be done.

“We had an ecumenical service, and the offering that we collected went directly to our refugee team,” she said. “During a parade, our fundraising committee put on a barbeque down by the local butcher shop, and the butcher provided the meat for the hamburgers.”

BART held a major fundraiser on Sunday, October 31st, in the form of an Awareness Dinner and Auction. 128 dinner tickets were sold, the auctioneer donated his time, most of the meal items and all the auction items were donated.

“We have had a lot of support from many different areas, churches, services clubs, business, and individuals, and continue to work diligently on this process,” Frook said. “We are excited and very hopeful.”

Sponsoring refugees is one of four goals of the ELCIC Reformation Challenge. Find out more at: www.elcic.ca/ReformationChallenge

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 114,592 baptized members in 525 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

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