The pandemic has upended the lives of so many. Some are fortunate enough to have networks of family and friends and know how to access government programs. Many newcomers to Canada, however, were thrust into this crisis with little support.
“Many of our clients work in the service industry and lost their jobs,” Lisa Loong told me. Lisa is the Director of Programs and Services at Catholic Crosscultural Services (CCS), a Catholic Charities member agency funded by ShareLife donors. “They face food insecurity. They don’t know how to apply for emergency funds. How do they plan for the future?”
Thankfully, CCS has helped 4,000 immigrants and refugees navigate this situation in April and May alone. Delivering services in thirty languages, CCS settlement workers are providing critical information, while also maintaining their English classes through online learning.
Lisa shared with me this inspiring story:
A school in Scarborough recently reached out to CCS to help an international student who didn’t know English. Susan, a Settlement Worker fluent in Mandarin, met with the family and learned that the school didn’t have enough enrolment to support English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. The student had been receiving private tutoring, but at $60/hour that was obviously prohibitive over the long-term.
Susan worked with the family and the school to bring in a teacher to provide one-on-one support. The teacher helped the student understand the work being assigned to him and focused on teaching key vocabulary. Susan regularly checked in on the family, connecting them with other community resources.
The student’s mother was so appreciative of all Susan had done to support her family that she wanted to give back in some way. She put the call out to family and friends in China for personal protective equipment and, before you knew it, 1,000 safety masks had been collected and mailed to her in Canada! She asked Susan to help her hand-deliver the masks to a hospital in Scarborough.
The incredible work of CCS is made possible by incredible people like you, a supporter of ShareLife. Your generosity is ensuring newcomers receive the help they need to survive this crisis and continue building their new lives in Canada.
I invite you to support your parish’s ShareLife campaign by giving securely online at the link below. Thank you for living the Gospel!
ShareMusic celebrates talented Catholic musicians from throughout the Archdiocese of Toronto. This Facebook Live event will amplify the vital work being done by ShareLife-funded social service agencies during the pandemic. Follow our social media channels for more details about our performers.