When Beatrice Giesbrecht saw a Facebook post from a local Winnipeger hoping to donate his vehicle to a deserving refugee family, she knew just what to do.

Giesbrecht is the chair of the Syrian Refugee Project at the Winnipeg church, Soul Sanctuary. The local church had quickly responded to the Syrian refugee crisis, and nearly a year ago welcomed their first family to Canada. The family of four, two parents, and two teenage children, have faced a few hurdles since arriving in Canada. "We knew it was going to be twelve months of work ... we knew there would be a lot of work going into this, to help them get acclimated to life in Canada, and finding them work. The biggest challenge has been, so far, that the parents did not speak English when they arrived," Giesbrecht said. This has proved to hinder job prospects for the mother & father. Added to that was the fact the family did not own a vehicle, which also limited them in their search for employment. "They've mentioned many times, 'this would be so much easier if we had a car,'" Giesbrecht told us.

That's where Neil Granger comes in. A few weeks ago he had posted on Facebook that he would like to donate his Honda Civic to a refugee family instead of trading it in, and asked for nominations. Giesbrecht immediately applied on behalf of the family when she saw the post. As you can see, the family was accepted. This past week Neil donated the car to the Syrian Refugee Project at Soul Sanctuary, who then in turn donated it to the family. "They're nearing the very end of their year of sponsorship, and so we were all very, very excited about this car. It just opens up a whole new world of possibilities for job prospects for them if they have a vehicle. That was huge." 

Adding to the good news is that it appears the mother & father both will now have employment. Giesbrecht told us that the mother should have a job shortly, and the father will actually begin working at the church as a custodian.

Speaking to the refugee process itself, Giesbrecht says, "It's been fun, and it's been a challenge. Overall, it's been good. It's a lot more involved than we originally thought. It's a process that involved the entire church, too, she says. "We have had a huge response from our community. We have a very generous community, and they have definitely given over and above what we expected. In fact, we raised all the support that we needed to raise - just over $27,000.00 - in just over a month and a half. Every time we've needed help people have just stepped up and pitched in."

And the work's not over for this local church. Giesbrecht tells us that the church has now begun the process of sponsoring another refugee, who is actually the nephew of the first family.

If you're interested in sponsoring a refugee you can begin at the government website. Many church denominations also have plenty of information.