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A good neighbourhood

In less than two weeks, 800 households in the Uptown West neighbourhood have raised over $25,000 for Syrian refugee sponsorship. 

"People want to help. They're just not always sure how to make the most impact," said Graham Hill, president of the Uptown West Neighbourhood Association located within the King, Erb, Westmount and Union Street border in Waterloo. Hill explained that after their six board members met with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to learn more about the Syrian Refugee initiative, they immediately set to work. 

A retired graphic designer who lives in the neighbourhood created the flyers delivered to residents. It was posted on the association's Facebook page and a member email was sent.  In just 11 days, the group had met their goal of $25,000 to sponsor a refugee family of four to six members.  "We even received a donation from Tamarack, a local business, because their mandate supports community engagement," said Hill.

One neighbourhood resident called the moment she received the flyer in her mailbox.  She had been looking for ways to help and the answer literally landed on her doorstep. Not only did she donate $1,000, she has joined the committee and recruited others for services like translation and volunteering.

"The response is overwhelming, it's bringing people together...and it's a great way to get to know your neighbours," said Hill.  The association is still taking donations through the MCC website. MCC will collect donations on an organization's behalf, online or by cheque, and re-distribute it to that specific group. 

Now that the association has exceeded its fundraising goal, they plan to donate the extra money to another neighbourhood group who is working to sponsor a refugee family.