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Local church starts another scrap metal drive to bring Syrian family to Bracebridge

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A Bracebridge church is continuing fundraising efforts to reunite a family of Syrian Kurdish refugees with their relatives in town.

Knox Presbyterian Church has started another scrap metal drive to help bring the Janbali family to Canada.

The Janbalis– two parents and four children, one of which is a baby– fled the ongoing war in Syria, and are sheltering in Iraq. They’re the relatives of the Khaleds, who came to Bracebridge in 2017.

Knox Presbyterian, along with with Bracebridge United Church, has been fundraising for the effort since last year,  and ran another scrap metal drive in the fall.

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According to Ann Swan with the BUC-Knox Refugee Partnership, the first time around was a resounding success, raising around $5,000. She says she hopes they can do the same this time.

“I couldn’t believe the response we got from all the community. We filled this huge bin seven times in one month. It was amazing,” says Swan. “We got some good money for that, and at the same time we had the community cleaning up the environment.”

Swan says a large bin has been placed at Knox Presbyterian, and people can come by to drop off their metal goods at any time.

“Any metal at all is welcome. We had lawn chairs last year, we even had a metal boat, and a trailer. We had some huge items,” says Swan with a chuckle. “Fridges, stoves, washing machines, dryers, anything like that.”

Sawn says anything copper, particularly wire, is much appreciated as the metal fetches a higher price. She adds anything too big to be dropped off at the bin can be driven to All Ontario Recycling in Port Sydney, and donated directly to the refugee fundraiser.

The funds go towards a goal of $80,000, which covers the cost of bringing the Janbalis to Canada, and supporting them for the first year of their new lives. To date, $63,000 has been raised for the effort.

“We’re hoping the $80,000 will cover it. If we get more than that, it would be awesome, because the way prices are going up and rent is going up, the cost of living could be a lot of money for a family.”

Although current events stalled progress for some time, Swan says the necessary documentation has now been filed.

“Unfortunately, things have been delayed somewhat with the Ukrainian and Afghanistan situations, which are seen to be a little more urgent,” says Swan. “We have assured the family that we are still working on it and that they will come to the attention of the government, and we will get them here for sure.”

The drive lasts until the end of May. Direct donations can be made on the refugee partnership’s website.

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