Delays in processing paperwork through Canada Immigration mean that the Syrian refugees sponsored by the Sechelt Seniors Activity Centre will not arrive in Sechelt until the end of this year, but in the meantime the seniors are ramping up their fundraising activities with a series of events this fall.
The first event, coming up on Saturday, Sept. 23, is a murder mystery dinner theatre entitled “Set Sail for Disaster.” (No, it’s not about BC Ferries. The play is set on a luxury sailboat full of colourful—and suspicious—characters.)
The play is being staged by the Funtastics and members of the defunct Peninsula Players, who are being resurrected (and presumably murdered) for the occasion. It is produced by Colleen Anderson and directed by Llewellyn Keats, with a dinner buffet provided by Richolan Chef Services.
The next fundraiser, on Nov. 4, is “Coats of Paint”, a fashion show and auction of wearable art.
Joanne Rykers, president of the activity centre, reports that her group has so far raised almost two-thirds of the $36,000 they need to cover the refugee family’s expenses in their first year in Canada.
“We’ve been disappointed by the delays in the arrival. We were hoping they would be here this summer,” said Rykers.
“Last year after all priority refugees came by March 31, the government slowed down its rate of processing people, so now they’re saying the average time it’s taking is 19 months,” said Rykers. “We’re in contact with the family regularly and we try to keep their spirits up because obviously they’re very disappointed at the delays.”
The Syrian family, a couple with three sons, fled from Syria four years ago and are living in the Satari refugee camp outside of Oman, Jordan.
Rykers said that the Sechelt volunteers have collected almost a household full of furnishings and equipment, but they still need a few items such as a new queen sized mattress and new pillows. And of course, cash donations are always welcome.
Tickets for Set Sail for Disaster are $75, which includes dinner, theatre performance and door prizes. Participants are being seated at tables of eight, and any group purchasing eight tickets will be recognized as a sponsor.
Tickets are on sale now at the Seniors Activity Centre, Strait Coffee in Wilson Creek and SWISH in Gibsons.