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This touching story of humankindness comes out of Toronto, where a couple chose not to spend their wedding day savings as planned but instead to sponsor a Syrian refugee family of four. Engaged since 2014, Samantha Jackson and Farzin Yousefian cancelled their big, expensive 2016 wedding plans in favor of an impromptu small city hall gathering and a casual dinner. Also, they asked their guests to donate to a humanitarian refugee fund in lieu of gifts.
Giving Someone Else a Second Chance
The couple were in the midst of wedding planning in the fall of 2015 when they saw the heartbreaking photo of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, a refugee child found lifeless on a Greek island shore. Jackson and her fiancé realized they’d rather use their wedding day money to give a second chance to someone else.
“We canceled the wedding and redirected the funds,” Jackson said. “We thought this really has to be an opportunity for us to use our wedding as a platform, as a way to make a difference alongside our friends and family in what has obviously become an absolutely outstanding humanitarian crisis,” Jackson told CBC News.
Although venues and vendors typically charge non-refundable deposits, Only One Gallery in Toronto and their caterers generously refunded the deposit to help the couple with their fundraising efforts, according to The Huffington Post.
Online Fundraising Continues
When they made their decision, the couple was already acutely aware of the humanitarian crisis. As a political science PhD candidate at McMaster University, Ms. Jackson has a background in immigration and settlement studies. She volunteers with the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge, dedicated to continuing to raise funds to help resettle at least 75 Syrian refugee families in Canada. Mr. Yousefian is employed as a legal counsel at the Canadian Ministry.
Canada Welcomes Refugees
That unselfish move made a large dent in the C$27,000 currently required to support a family with rent, food and clothing for 12 months. The Canadian government has pledged to welcome 25,000 refugees by early 2016, and their first year in Canada can be fraught with challenges. The Canadian government is supplying necessities including parkas, snow suits, woolly caps, mittens, socks, boots, and Maple Leaf emblazoned bags filled with books, DVDs and a copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in both English and French.
This article was written by Laurie Jo Miller Farr via Examiner.com for CBS Local Media