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Matthew House Refuge Services and Furniture Bank hope to raise thousands for refugee claimants’ sheltter

Shelter for refugee claimants holding first variety show fundraiser

Matthew House and Furniture Bank hope to raise thousands

Matthew House fundraiser

Matthew House fundraiser

File

Matthew House executive director Miriam Rawson, left, and volunteer Claire Haas in front of Matthew House, located along Centrepointe Drive in Nepean.
Kanata Kourier-Standard

An organization that supports newcomers to Ottawa who are seeking refugee status is holding a variety show fundraiser at Kanata Baptist Church on April 24.

The event, which will feature singing, dancing and musical talent from locals and newcomers, is in support of Matthew House Refuge Services and Furniture Bank.

With attendance free to those under 18 and tickets $10 per person, organizers hope to raise $2,000 to help keep Matthew House running.

Matthew House is a Christian organization that draws its inspiration from the Matthew 25:25 Network, referring to Bible scripture about welcoming newcomers. It seeks to do that by providing refugees and refugee claimants a place to live and guidance during the refugee claim process.

With space for up to 10 people at a time, Matthew House, located along Centrepointe Drive in Nepean, has helped more than 100 people from dozens of countries since it started in 2010.

Partnered with Furniture Bank located in Kanata, the organization can also provide their residents with volunteer work, job skills and furniture for their future homes.

The majority of the organization’s funding comes from churches, individuals and grants, but does not receive government funding, said Matthew House’s program manager, Kailee Brennan.

“In an NGO (non-governmental organization) like that, you are always looking for ways to fundraise,” she said.

Much of Matthew House’s operating budget comes from its own Ride for Refuge event held in October, and participation in Ottawa Race Weekend.

But this year, the organization’s new board is looking to find new ways to raise money and support, said Brennan.

The first annual variety show is just such an attempt, which will showcase ballet dancers from Stittsville’s Arise School of Dance, the McGill Ottawa Alumni Choir, several local solo singers including Lydia Brown and Heather Lynn Smith, as well as other performances from supporters of Matthew House, said the event’s organizer and Matthew House director, Meredith Ward.

“It’s just going to be a ton of fun,” said Ward.

Funds are particularly important now as Matthew House looks to do $30,000 of upgrades to the electrical system of the older home it rents from Bethany Baptist Church in Nepean.

Ward said she hopes the event can raise $2,000 or more.

Tickets can be purchased at Kanata Baptist Church at 465 Hazledean Rd. at 6 p.m. on April 24. Donations are also accepted, said Ward.

There will also be information about Matthew House, the Furniture Bank and volunteer opportunities available.

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