Ontario Church Cooks Up Ways to Help Refugees

Story Written by: Ed Van Beilen, Event Co-Organizer, Member of Meadowlands Fellowship CRC Refugee Team

Here at Diaconal Ministries Canada, we LOVE sharing stories about ministry happening in churches that are full of courage and creativity, particularly over the past months during the ongoing pandemic. Here is one great story we received from Meadowlands Fellowship CRC in Ancaster, ON about their refugee ministry:

The Refugee Committee of Meadowlands Fellowship CRC (“MFCRC”) has been very active for the last 7 years. During that time, the committee has helped eight (8) families – a total of 39 people – move from places of desperation to settlement away from conflict and into a place of peace and hope for their futures.  

In order to support another refugee family that the church is working hard to bring to Canada, the committee held a unique fundraiser on Saturday, November 6th: an online Arabic cooking class!

The COVID-friendly cooking class was orchestrated through Zoom, with multiple cameras and microphones set up in the kitchen of Meadowlands church. The cooking instructors were some of the same newcomers to Canada, helped by the committee in previous years to escape dangerous situations in the Middle East. The chefs were delighted to share their favourite recipes from Iraq and Syria including dishes such as Bushala (an Iraqi yogurt soup), Fattoush (a Lebanese salad popular in Syria), Biryani (a meat, vegetable, and rice dish), Kolechi (Iraqi cookies) and Iraqi cardamon tea.

Halfway through the event, as online participants at home enjoyed the soup and salad that they prepared, they were entertained by a highly talented violinist from the Canadian Arabic Orchestra who performed live via Zoom in the church library.

The day before the event, 54 meal kits containing all the ingredients for the class were packed and delivered to households in and around the Greater Hamilton Area. During the actual class, 54 Zoom feeds were managed and a total of 191 people participated online. If people at home got a little lost during the online cooking instructions, they could continue preparing the food through a detailed recipe book that was also included in the meal kit.

The campaign raised over $15K in total profits, enough to co-fund the resettlement of another refugee family into Canada sometime very soon.

As one member from MFCRC commented after the event: “Memories were made, community was built, fun was had, money was raised… refugees will be blessed.”

Is your church interested in Refugee Sponsorship?

Through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, you can help sponsor refugees who qualify to come to Canada. Find out more on World Renew Canada’s website.