Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where do you live? What is your day job?
My name is Lindsey Ingram. I am originally from Alberta but now live in Saskatoon. I am a visual artist, a wife and full time mom with two young kids.
What is “Bridge City Neighbours”? How did the group come into being and when did it start?
Bridge City Neighbours is a group of community members, led by our faith to sponsor refugee families to settle in Saskatoon. We are families of all shapes and sizes that frequent various Saskatoon (and area) churches. Each of us felt a sense of urgency about doing something to help Syrian refugees in particular. We came together through word of mouth between friends and family and joined together as an official group in December.
Why is Bridge City Neighbours so motivated and inspired to support Syrian refugees?
I think we were so motivated to support Syrian refugees because there was so much press, keeping it in the forefront of our minds. And, at least for me, I was unable to shake the thought that these were families like mine, with kids who needed security as much as mine do, and that we are in a privileged position to be able to help. I would hope that someone would help my family if we were in a similar situation.
Beyond supporting the family to actually settle in Canada, are there any other hopes and dreams the group has?
We are all excited about the way these new relationships will enrich our lives, broaden our horizons, and teach our kids in a very tangible way what we value and how we hope they will live. We believe we can make a difference.
As you and the Bridge City Community have been involved welcoming refugees in Saskatoon, what has been one of the greatest impacts you’ve experienced? (Any insights, learnings, experiences that have surprised you? Warmed your heart?)
We are blessed as we have been presented with an opportunity to sponsor a large extended Syrian family comprised of 12 adults and children over 4 generations that are currently in exile in Lebanon. We feel very fortunate to have met our first fundraising goal so quickly. This has allowed us to move forward in helping bring the entire family here to Saskatoon at the same time, and has resulted in an increase in our fundraising requirements. It is going to be amazing to see this extended family reunited in Saskatoon. We were able to spend time over a meal with some of the family members who are already here. They are anxiously awaiting the news that papers have been submitted to start the process of bringing the rest of their family members to safety. It really made it real for us, and it was incredibly humbling and exciting to know that we would be part of such a life changing thing for one family. I think that is an important idea – in our world, where there is information overload and we become blasé about crises, it is still possible, and important, to help one person. Or one family. Or more. These are real people, not numbers. I heard a good quote, and I can’t remember who said it, but it was this: “Do for the one, what you wish you could do for the many”.
What would you tell people who want to be involved serving others but aren’t sure where to start?
I think that when it comes to serving, being faithful in the small things is important. Link up with others whose gifts and strengths might be different from your own so that you can carry the load together. And be honest. Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Try to be dependable and brave, too!
Do you have any current needs that others may be interested and able to help with? We still need funding to be bring all the family members to Saskatoon. We have raised about $37,000 towards our goal of $68,000.
If people want more information, they can go to our Facebook page, facebook.com/bridgecityneighbours and anyone can donate directly at https://donate.mcccanada.ca/registry/bridge-city-neighbors-refugee-resettlement