Grunthal, Man., residents set up 24-hour ‘refugee camp’ to raise money for Syrian family – Manitoba

Beans and rice are on the menu in Grunthal, Man., this weekend — and it’s all to give people a tiny taste of what it’s like to be a refugee, and help one Syrian family in the process.

Starting Friday, about 30 members of the community will sleep outside for 24 hours in a mock “refugee camp” at the Hanover fairgrounds in Grunthal to raise money to sponsor a Syrian family.

“These people are coming to join us in our little makeshift refugee camp for 24 hours just to get even an inkling of what it might be like to live like that,” said organizer Heather Neufeld.

Response to the fundraiser in Grunthal ‘has been just amazing,’ organizer Heather Neufeld says. ‘It’s been a huge blessing.’ (CBC)

“We thought it would be a great way to raise awareness and just for people to get a bit more understanding of what it is really like.”

Neufeld’s husband, who is a local pastor, and their two adopted children, who are originally from Mozambique, will be among the campers. They will be joined by the local elementary school principal, youth leaders, real estate agents, lawyers and children.

Each person participating had to raise a minimum of $100 for the camp out.

Pay to participate

“This is actually quite funny because we are making people pay to bring their own stuff. For the $100 they fundraise, they can bring a sleeping bag, a tent and any clothes they have on their back. If they want to bring more than that, they have to fundraise more,” said Neufeld.

For every additional $50 they raise, participants can bring a luxury item — a toothbrush, a pillow, a sleeping mat or a flashlight, for example.

The money raised will help the community, which is about 60 kilometres south of Winnipeg, sponsor a family of six from Syria. It has raised more than $20,000 of the $40,000 needed to support the family for one year. 

Neufeld said she was surprised by how many people were willing to take part in the fundraiser.

“We were hoping for about 50 people….

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