While shoppers were knocking themselves out trying to beat the rush to mall bargains on Black Friday, at least one Burlington charitable organization suffered mildly from the fury.

Don Prescott, Grand Knight of the Holy Rosary Church Council of the Knights of Columbus, said many Black Friday shoppers appeared to have spent all their money at malls and didn’t have much left to support the K of C annual turkey roll and silent auction, which was held in the evening.

“We did have about 70 walk-ins, but traffic on the streets was unbelievable and most of the cars were going right by,” he said. “We’ll definitely try to avoid Black Friday for our event in the future.”

Nevertheless, the annual turkey roll that dates back to 1947 was successful and Prescott said his council has made a commitment to pay up to 20 per cent of the cost of Holy Rosary Parish’s sponsoring a Syrian family, to a maximum of $8,000.

Normally, he said, the council donates to local causes.

“We feel there’s enough need in our own community,” he said.

Blair Greer, president of the Burlington Lions Club, said his club has discussed helping Syrian refugees and would make concrete plans following a public meeting called by Mayor Rick Goldring.

“The majority of our proceeds goes to local charities,” he said. “We collect money locally and invest it back into the community.”

This year the Lions already have donated $15,000 to Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital and another $5,000 for high school scholarships.

Greer said that in the past the club has donated money through the Lions International Office in Chicago to aid victims of earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal.

Father Ed Henhoeffer, pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, one of the largest places of worship in the city, said his congregation adopted a family of six from Iraq a few years ago and still is focusing its efforts on them.

The family of Wisam Mardo left Iraq because of the volatile political climate, arrived in Burlington was accommodated in a townhouse rented for them with the help of a special collection taken up at St. Paul’s.

Wisam’s father Hiknat was shot and killed by rebels at the age of 66 in May of 2000. He was delivering food to the needy when his car was stop by the insurgents.

North Burlington Baptist Church has set a goal of raising $22,000 for the refugee cause and has already held an event that included seven people on elliptical machines for four hours each for a complete 24-hour challenge

Internal debates about whether money raised at fundraisers should be sent abroad or remain in the country plague some groups.

Complicating matters for well-intentioned Burlingtonians is that,

under Canada’s anti-terrorism legislation, individuals and organizations are responsible for making sure that they do not operate in association with individuals or groups that are engaged in terrorist activities or that support terrorist activities.

A charity’s status may be revoked if it does so.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton has solved that problem by having all of its churches first send their donations to its Mission Co-op Office, which ensures that the money goes directly to the people who need it.

The Halton Multiculural Council has opened a special line of donations to support refugees in Halton. One hundred per cent of donations will be dedicated to supporting the Interfaith Community Initiative.

Just outside Burlington, Rock Chapel United Church has sponsored a family, which is originally from the Palestinian territories, but was forced to flee to Syria.

Written by: Denis Gibbons

Providing a fresh perspective for Hamilton and Burlington

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