A Toronto couple preparing for a big wedding has decided to cancel their big wedding ceremony planned for next March and use the gifts and money that would have gone to their reception to sponsor a Syrian refugee family to come to Canada.
The couple, Samantha Jackson and Farzin Yousefian had planned the wedding ceremony at an art gallery in Toronto's trendy hipster area, Parkdale, but after canceling the reception, they contacted their family and friends to announce that they will say "I do" at an intimate ceremony at the City Hall on Oct. 9.
The couple said "I do" to helping Syrian refugees, instead of using the money for the wedding ceremony.
"We thought this really has to be an opportunity for us to really 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 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News.
Jackson, who is a PhD student at Ryerson University, studies refugee health care policy and volunteers with the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge, which raises funds to sponsor refugees in Toronto, CBC News said.
"When there's such a dire situation, it's easy to become overwhelmed about thinking of ways to contribute," Yousefian said adding that refugee issue is a topic which the couple discussed often.
"We just thought, wait a second, there's a better way to do this. Given the circumstances, we need to turn the focus on the crisis and raise awareness and funds," he added. The couple proceeded with the wedding ceremony on Oct. 9, which was also supported by their friends and families through the donations they made.
So far, the couple was able to raise $17,500 of the $27,000 needed to sponsor a refugee family of four.
Meanwhile, Canadian government issued a call for tenders for construction of temporary housing signaling a possibility of building refugee camps to handle the 25,000 refugees Canada promised to receive by the year end. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had promised to receive 25,000 Syrian refugees as part of his party's election campaign. Trudeau reaffirmed that he will keep his promise to the voters despite pressure from municipal and provincial leaders amid security concerns after the deadly Paris attacks.