To leave or to stay? Many Syrian and Iraqi families face that question as the conflict continues to rage around them. International humanitarian assistance is dwindling and the patchwork of resources they used to rely on is wearing thin. To leave is to risk their lives over dangerous seas and through countries hesitant to open their doors. But to stay is also a great risk. Responding to this crisis is MCC’s largest ever humanitarian effort, but the needs are growing faster than the resources are coming in.

While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of people in need, there are three ways you can make a difference: 

  1. Give a donation to MCC's humanitarian work in the region. 
  2. Learn how you, your church or other organization can get involved with refugee sponsorship.
  3. Support a peaceful solution to the crisis 
  4. Pray for peace in Syria and Iraq and for all those who have been affected or displaced by the conflict. 

1. You can help provide vital humanitarian relief by giving to MCC’s Syria and Iraq crisis response.

In the region MCC has 27 ongoing projects delivering emergency relief. Through our partners we are providing food and rent assistance as well as essential items such as relief and hygiene kits, clothing and kitchen supplies. MCC is also supporting peacebuilding work, education for displaced children, trauma healing and will provide supplies to keep people warm in the coming winter. 

One MCC partner, Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD) told an MCC representative for Lebanon and Syria, that “MCC's sustained food security for these families, over two years ongoing, along with education for their children have given them a sense of dignity, hope and reason to hang in there while they wait to return home to Syria.”

We also distribute relief and hygiene kits, providing essential supplies to families in need. We are in urgent need of 2,000 relief kits and 8,000 hygiene kits — learn more about how you can make a kit or find a drop-off location near you. 

2. Learn more about how you or your church can sponsor refugees to come to Canada.

Help people find safety and a new home. In Canada MCC has a long history of resettling families. Refugee coordinators provide support throughout the process from assisting with applications to welcoming the family and helping them establish a new life. Learn more about how you can get involved with refugee sponsorship or read our frequently asked questions.

MCC is also accepting donations designated to our Refugee Program in Canada and to refugee sponsor groups that MCC has approved as part of this group.

How to sponsor a refugee family

Today, there are more people displaced than at any other time since World War II. Canadian churches have a unique opportunity to respond through private refugee sponsorship. Here's how it works.

3. Support a peaceful solution to the crisis

We welcome the Government of Canada’s new policy commitment to increasing diplomacy and humanitarian aid to the region. In addition to the promise of sustained support for access to food, clean water, shelter, sanitation and hygiene, we are greatly encouraged by the government’s pledge to invest in protection and education for displaced children and to build capacity in host countries where refugees are under-resourced and local communities are becoming increasingly vulnerable. 

However, we remain deeply concerned that Canada’s anti-ISIS military efforts are contributing to the emergence of local and regional armed organizations that weaken the state structures necessary for long-term stability. Don Peters, MCC's executive director, wrote a letter to the government encouraging ongoing and dedicated support for a negotiated political solution. Read the full letter, and consider contacting your local MP to talk about the importance of prioritizing diplomatic efforts towards a peaceful solution.

4. Pray for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, and for the millions of displaced people caught in the violence.

You can use this prayer for refugees and displaced people on the MCC Ottawa Office blog.



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