It was a beautiful night at Pearson International – full of tears, hugs and kisses. Our second Syrian refugee family arrived safely. The reunion with their relatives, who arrived in Stouffville two years ago, was wonderful. Thank you, Stouffville, for your continued love and support. We truly live in an outstanding community.



Second Syrian refugee family landing in Stouffville

Stouffville Cares is preparing to welcome another family of refugees into our community.

A Syrian mother and father and their four daughters are scheduled to arrive in Stouffville from their temporary home in Jordan during late February. They are relatives of the first family Stouffville Cares brought to Stouffville two years ago.

Our community refugee sponsorship organization is making preparations. Accommodations are being readied, placement in a local school arranged and medical appointments co-ordinated. There is additional work ahead.

Our hearts remain full of gratitude and thanks for the donations of money, household items and time from this caring community during the past two and a half years.

Our first family, which arrived in Stouffville from Syria via Jordan in March 2016, continues to thrive in our community. Both parents are working. Their four children have made new friends in their neighbourhood, our local schools, sports associations and community organizations.

October 2017 Update

October 5, 2017

Stouffville Cares is thankful!

With Thanksgiving weekend upon us, the executive committee of Stouffville Cares would like to send out a big thank you to all of our supporters. We recently received a few surprise donations, which made our hearts full with gratitude and thanks.

Our family, which arrived in Stouffville from Syria via Jordan in March 2016, is as fabulous as ever. The kids are all back at school after a summer of soccer and swimming and playing with their friends. Each day we see that they need less assistance from Stouffville Cares and are managing quite well on their own. This independence is what we had all hoped for and we are thankful to see things falling into place, as they should.

Although we have no news on when the extended family we hope to sponsor will arrive we do know that as each day passes it means it is one day closer to us welcoming them into our community. We are hoping that three more families of relatives will soon call Stouffville their home and down the road we hope to help another member of the family move here, too. The refugee sponsorship application process is a lengthy and thorough process and it takes time and patience as we wait for any new updates. We have begun to realize that Stouffville Cares will be around for many years to come as we help our family and their relatives settle here in Canada.

We are truly thankful to all our volunteers and to those who continue to donate to Stouffville Cares. There is always a need for ESL and homework volunteers so please let us know if you would like to help. We currently have enough furniture in storage for now but will most likely be looking for very specific items once the extended family arrives.

May the colours of the fall leaves bring you much joy.

Many thanks from Stouffville Cares!




Fandi Family Update and Second Family Status

Stouffville Cares, Whitchurch-Stouffville’s community refugee adoption organization, marked its first birthday this fall.
While there was much to celebrate, there also remains plenty of new work to be done. Thankfully.
The Fandi family arrived in Stouffville from Syria, via Jordan, seven months ago. The summer flew by with the children involved in many typically Canadian activities: soccer, swimming, and camps were all new to them but they enjoyed them immensely.
Mr. & Mrs. Fandi carried on with their ESL lessons and continue to improve every day. Mr. Fandi is taking driving lessons and will soon be able to drive unescorted; the purchase of a car is a dream they are hoping to realize. Mr. Fandi is also working full time in Stouffville and is grateful for the opportunity. He continues to learn English on the job.
All family members are healthy and eager to move forward in their lives in Canada. This fall, they are playing indoor soccer, taking skating lessons and attending cake-decorating and pottery classes. They attended their first hockey game and met members of the Stouffville Spirit Jr. A team after the big win.
The Fandis have wonderful dreams about how they can contribute to Canadian society, right here in Stouffville.

Early in the summer of 2016, Stouffville Cares applied once again through our Sponsorship Agreement Holder to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, to sponsor a second family. This time we have chosen a different path; this is a private sponsorship with a specific family identified by us, in this case, relatives of the Fandi family.
We are working to reunite three brothers of Mr. Fandi and their families, 11 people in total, six in Jordan and five in Lebanon. Our goal is to build community within community. Early in September, our application was approved by the government, and shortly thereafter, we learned that those in Jordan were interviewed by Canadian Consulate staff and are now proceeding with medical checks.
We do not think the family in Lebanon has yet been interviewed, but we are hopeful that this will occur soon. The Fandis were so excited to think that reunification of at least some of their family members might be possible. We do not yet have a date of arrival for the newcomers, but it could be as early as January 2017.

And so Stouffville Cares is back in action, focused on preparing for more newcomers! We need your help! We are looking for new members of several committees; which one(s) would you like to explore?

Driving: We have a room for more volunteers in our driving pool. Each week a list of driving needs is posted; you can sign up for whatever day and time is convenient to you. It is a great way to get to know the Fandis. A police check is required.

Fundraising: We have “crunched the numbers” and now know how much money we need for our second sponsorship: our goal is $37,500! Join a great committee with people full of brilliant ideas for fun ways to work together and invite the community at large to contribute to our goal.

English Teachers: One of the reasons our children are doing so well in absorbing English is because we have ESL teachers going into the schools to work with the Fandi children during the day to help them with their homework, to ensure they are understanding the concepts being taught by their regular teachers, and to expand their vocabulary. We also have people working directly with the parents, reviewing their homework for the ESL programs in which they are engaged, and to focus on language that is most relevant to them right now as they function in Stouffville (shopping, banks etc.). Would you like to join this team? A police check is required.

Household Effects: We already have some furniture in storage, ready for the next family to arrive, but we will need more, and so we will need people to work with our household effects team to determine what is required, check out what is offered by the public, and deliver it to our storage facility.

Business Committee: We are looking into the possibility of helping the Fandis (and their relatives, when they arrive) set up their own business right here in Stouffville. In that regard, we have formed a Business Committee to start work on a business plan, identify market potential, determine costs, establish a budget, find investors etc. Do you have business acumen? Is your work experience related to start-ups? Join us!

If you have an interest in taking an active role of any kind with Stouffville Cares, please let us know; we’d love to welcome you!

Stouffville Cares has been greatly encouraged by the interest and generosity shared by caring, compassionate and fun-loving people (including you!) in Stouffville and beyond. The experience of doing what we do has changed us, and we are so grateful. We invite you into this experience as well.

We will keep you apprised of the status of both our present and future families. Thank you for being part of a welcoming community.

If you are interested in helping or would simply like more information about Stouffville Cares, please reach out to us.
or phone 905-640-3151

Syrian refugee family given loud ovation during Stouffville concert

Local MP and national Health Minister Jane Philpott talks to the audience about Stouffville Cares and the current status of Syrian refugees coming to Canada.
Local MP and national Health Minister Jane Philpott talks to the audience about Stouffville Cares and the current status of Syrian refugees coming to Canada.
Grande Finale featuring Jason Wilson and the Perennials, Greg Mashinter, George Sawa and Suzanne Meyers Sawa.
Grande Finale featuring Jason Wilson and the Perennials, Greg Mashinter, George Sawa and Suzanne Meyers Sawa.

Faisal Fandi thanks community, Stouffville Cares and Canadian government

Well on their way to settling in, Stouffville’s newest family ­– the Fandis – were given a roaring ovation at the Lebovic Centre for Arts and Entertainment 19 on the Park on Saturday.

The theatre was at near capacity as a show sponsored by local organization Stouffville Cares took the audience on a musical journey around the world.

It featured four acts: two-time Juno-nominated Jason Wilson – who organized the event – & The Perennials, Stouffville alternative folk musician Greg Mashinter, York Region’s chorale The Tudor Consort and legendary musician George Dimitri Sawa, specializing in traditional Arabic music.

Markham-Stouffville MP and Health Minister Jane Philpott addressed the crowd, thanking Stouffville Cares and sponsorship groups across the country. It was her first time meeting the Fandi family.

Through translator Joe Bishouty of Stouffville, father Faisal Fandi thanked the community, Stouffville Cares and the Canadian government for all they had done for him and his family of six.

The concert welcomed the Fandis to Stouffville and was in support of Syrian refugees. It’s a breath of relief as the Fandi children are back in school with the whole family learning English after an arduous four-year journey that began with outbreak of the Syrian civil war.

“The cause is great, our first family is wonderful,” said Wilson, who performed with his band and is a member of the Stouffville Cares board. “We are just as lucky as they are to have a wonderful family like them in our community.”

Approximately 25,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Canada since November 2015.

Credit: Stouffville Sun-Tribune

Syrian family settling into Stouffville

Syrian family arrives in Toronto Airport

Fandis family arrival

Refugees at home
Family in Stouffville home

The Fandis, a family of six from Daraa, a city of 100,000 hit hard by the Syrian civil war, is sponsored by Stouffville Cares.

The family arrived at Pearson International Monday, following a 14-hour flight. Volunteers from Stouffville Cares met them at a Mississauga hotel and brought them to their new home Tuesday.

“The Fandi family are now in their home and settling in,” said Rev. Joan Masterton of Stouffville Cares. “They are all lovely people … open, warm, affectionate, and very, very grateful.”

“They know now that they are not alone; they are surrounded by an army of Stouffville Cares friends.”

Volunteers from the organization were contacted by the Canadian government over the weekend, who informed them of the family’s itinerary.

In preparation for their arrival, a Stouffville home has been furnished with donations from the community.

Waiting for each of the four children on their beds was a teddy bear.

Stouffville Cares, which has been fundraising and preparing to welcome a family since last fall, would like to thank area churches, residents, businesses, community groups and others for their support, Masterton said.

Credit: Stouffville Sun-Tribune

Coming soon: Our first refugee family!

Stouffville is very close to welcoming its refugee family.

Stouffville Cares, a volunteer community-based organization, expects to have its family in the community by late February.

It could take as long as March but they could also arrive any day.

We must be ready.

We know who our family is: they are six, including mom, dad and four school-aged children. They are from Daraa in southwestern Syria, just north of the border with Jordan.

Cares’ forms have all been signed and submitted to head office of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, our sponsoring organization. They were to officially submit them to the federal government by Feb. 1.

We wait and prepare.

Typically, groups are given only 24 to 48 hours notice prior to the arrival of their family.

Since Cares was launched in September, much has been accomplished. Since then:

  • The group has expanded greatly. Committees have been formed to tackle specific tasks, including settlement, events, fundraising, administration, housing and furnishings.
  • We have had more than 35 people at our montly general meetings, people from a wide range of backgrounds.
    As of Jan. 31, we have received more than $65,000 in donations. We have received other commitments – including a pledge from the 100 Women Who Care organization.
  • Our initial financial goal of $30,000 was accomplished in a short period of time. We expect our family to arrive in Stouffville in late February. We will give consideration to sponsoring a second family – once the first family is settled.

Thank you to more of our donors!

We thank the following for their donations to Stouffville Cares of furniture or household items:
Natalie Wood
Connie Wright
Rick Wall
Sarah Carrick
Richard Weir
Mary Andrews
Zeev Werek
Doug & Sharon Alles
Maya Wariyar
Indi Dhanraj
Louise Moyer
Kathi Gray
Dave Hoover
Stuart & Betty Young
Bruce & Joan Bostock
Nancy Constable
Carol Reynolds
Betty Young
Sandy Schell Kennedy & Richard Kennedy
Kathy Carrick
Sam Kewan
Heather &
Reid Andrews
Susan Murray
Rodney & Marg King
Elaine Teillet
Joan & John Brown
Bonnie & Ed Saunders
Tom & Sharon Dinsmore

Legion Soup Day February 6, 2016



They came out in droves for much more than a cup of hot soup on a cold day.

In Stouffville on Saturday the community came to the Royal Canadian Legion by the hundreds because they care – to help bring a Syrian refugee family to the community.

That was the goal of the Stouffville Cares “Soup Day At the Legion” fundraiser, which organizer Jason Wilson called “fantastic” as he estimated the crowd could top 300.

Though Wilson couldn’t provide a definitive number on cash raised from the event, he estimated based on the $10 entry fee and donations, plus raffles and silent auction, the proceeds could wind up in the $4,000 to $5,000 range.

The event was a big hit with longtime Stouffvillians Jean and Laurie Barclay.

“When we came they were lined up right out the door, we didn’t know if we would be able to get in,” said Jean. “The whole town has come. It’s great, the community cares.”

Wilson gave credit to the 12 local restaurants that donated soups (along with coffee, tea and bread) as well as raffle prizes and auction items.

“Once you see where the family came from that is coming here (to Stouffville), your heart melts,” said Wilson about any naysayers concerned about refugees coming to the community.

“The vast majority of the good people of Stouffville have supported us,” he said.

The next Stouffville Cares fundraiser will include Wilson’s band Jason Wilson and the Perennials, George Sawa as well as others at 19 on Park.

“After today, I’m sure we’re over the $70,000 mark in fundraising,” said Wilson who said he’s been told it costs about $35,000 a year to bring a family to a community. It’s estimated a Syrian family could be in Stouffville as soon as the end of February.

Credit: Stouffville Sun-Tribune/

Stouffville Cares Prepares to Welcome Syrian Family

Stouffville Cares is ready to welcome a family of six from Syria as early as next month.

The group of local residents has been raising money and hosting events in response to the international refugee crisis since last fall.

The Syrian family, which was identified last week, is in a refugee camp awaiting final clearance before flying to Canada.

The target for the Stouffville group, which formed early in 2015 out of St. James Presbyterian Church, was $30,000 – the estimated cost of local sponsorship of a family – and many Stouffville residents, merchants and churches have generously stepped forward with donations.

Stouffville Cares has collected $58,000 and is planning to continue raising funds with hopes of supporting a second family.

It’s not only cash that’s coming in. Residents and business owners have bought mattresses for the home the family will live in, offered to pay the rent and hire one of the newcomers.

Donated storage space is filled with furniture and other household items.

Stouffville Cares will be holding fundraising events in 2016.


Our first event will be a Soup Day, which will be held at the Royal Canadian Legion in Stouffville. This event will feature – perhaps unsurprisingly – a variety of tasty soups as provided by a number of local establishments and individuals. The event goes from 12 to 3 p.m. There will also be entertainment, as well as a kids’ craft table.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children, 12 and under.

Our next event is a springtime musical celebration that will be held at Stouffville’s Nineteen on the Park. The programme promises to joyfully unite the sounds of the Middle East with our own domestic musical fare. The evening will feature some wonderfully talented and award-winning artists – local and otherwise – who will be announced in the New Year:

Tax receipts are available for financial donations and gifts in kind.

For more information, visit Stouffville Cares’ page on Facebook, and/or contact Rev. Joan Masterton at 905-640-3151 or

We await our first family – thanks to you!

Since Stouffville Cares was launched in September, much has been accomplished.

Thanks to you.

Our original goal was to help bring a family from the Middle East to Stouffville.

A small working group at St. James Presbyterian Church adopted a motion made by the church’s session to that effect last spring.

Since then:

  • The group has expanded greatly. We had 35 people at our last general meeting, people from a wide range of backgrounds. Some are from churches. Some are not. They live in communities across Whitchurch-Stouffville.
  • Our Nov. 28 launch event packed Morris Hall at St. James with 150 supporters from across our community.
  • As of Christmas Eve, we have received more than $39,000 in donations. Our initial goal of $30,000 has been accomplished in such a short period of time. We expact our family to arrive in Stouffville in Late February. We are now working on sponsoring a second family.
  • We have found a landlord in stouffville who is willing to rent to a refugee family. The house will become available early in the new year, so we don’t need to rent it now.
  • We’ve received a pledge from someone to contribute $1,000/month for 12 months for the rent and to work with colleagues to find the other half of the rent; such generosity! The exact rent has yet to be finalized but we think we’re close.
  • We have received an offer of employment for the breadwinner of the family – an early opportunity to work and earn a modest income until they can find their feet and job-hunt for something more specific to their particular skills, whatever those may be.
  • There have also been many offers of personal service for the family – from psychotherapists teachers for tutoring purposes to lawyers etc. etc. Such talents are contained in the community of Stouffville; is it not remarkable to see them shared and focused on helping one family in need?!

Thanks to you!
Stouffville really does Care.