The laughing man and the search for Canadian sponsors

Posted by Amanda Painter

Marcy Franck, newly arrived in Chios, Greece on July 24. Photo by Marcy Franck.

Despite being met by laughter when Marcy Franck introduces herself to a Canadian man on the phone — she says she is an American trying to help get a Canadian sponsor group for a particular Syrian family to relocate — Marcy is persevering. Are you at all interested? Do you know any Canadians with a humanitarian streak? Marcy will be assisting the process every step of the way. (And we won’t tell Trump.)

Editor’s Note: My dear friend Marcy Franck has become very involved in helping Syrian refugees — both in Greece, and now in North America. (You can read her previous posts on Planet Waves here.) She’s currently trying to help one particular family still in Syria. — Amanda P.

By Marcy Franck

I’m not sure what to make of the call I just had.

But I need your help.

Canada has an amazing private sponsorship program for refugees. Sponsor groups come in a few different forms–one of them is through community organizations. I have been calling every single one of them to advocate for an awesome Syrian family who desperately needs to leave Syria.

Marcy Franck, newly arrived in Chios, Greece on July 24. Photo by Marcy Franck.

Marcy Franck, newly arrived in Chios, Greece on July 24. She is back in the U.S., but still working doggedly to help Syrian refugees. Photo courtesy of Marcy Franck.

So I just got one man on the line — a totally nice guy who works as the head of the refugee sponsorship program at his organization.

I introduced myself as I always do: “Hi! My name is Marcy Franck. I am a US citizen living in Boston, and I’m trying to help a Syrian family find a sponsor group in Canada.”


Then, laughter.

Like, peels and gales of laughter.

This guy may have peed his pants, he was laughing so hard.

Between gasps of air he said, “Don’t…. don’t…. DON’T TELL TRUMP! Bahahahahahaha!”

I wasn’t expecting that. I didn’t have words, either.

Eventually I said, “I don’t care if Trump knows.”

…. as if someone would whisper it in his ear and get me in trouble?

The guy calmed himself down and said he was just kidding. I laughed nervously and promised I wouldn’t vote for Trump and then he answered all my questions.

This is what the world thinks of us. And that would account for how surprised most Canadian sponsor groups are when I introduce myself. I asked a few times if they get many calls from Americans who want to help sponsor refugees. Across the board, they say no.

I wish we had an opportunity to privately sponsor refugees in the US, but at the moment we don’t.

So I’m asking you for help: Please, please, share this post with any Canadian friend you have who is sympathetic to refugee issues. I don’t think many Canadians know what a special and powerful place they hold in the world right now. A group of any five Canadian citizens, each from a different household, can sponsor any number of refugees. There is no limit. And I need only one ally to help me form this “Group of 5″ to sponsor this family I am trying so desperately to get out of Syria. They are so lovely. They would make great neighbors. And they want to live.

The war rages on, and from one day to the next, I am never sure if my dear friends are still alive.

Sponsorship is a heavy lift, but it’s the most rewarding experience you could imagine. I will help with all of it: fundraising, communication, coordination, administration…. all of it.

This is your chance to help a Syrian family survive.

Will you help me do it?

Please, if you are Canadian, please PM me for details. If you know a Canadian person, please share. It never hurts to find out more, no obligation comes from asking.

Thank you!
Marcy Franck

P.S. This family understands that, to qualify for sponsorship, they need to leave Syria. They will leave immediately upon hearing that they have a group who will sponsor them. It is a Catch 22 — it’s more expensive to live in surrounding countries, and they can afford to do it for the time it will take to clear the application process, but they fear not being able to afford shelter and food indefinitely. Please don’t let this stop you from sponsoring! You will win friends for life. This family, and me.


You can say hello to Marcy and read all of her Facebook posts here to learn more about her work with Syrian refugees, and the work of others.

7 thoughts on “The laughing man and the search for Canadian sponsors

  1. Amanda PainterAmanda Painter Post author

    Note, I’ve just received this message from Marcy:

    “Most offers of help are coming from people volunteering to contact community organizations. But what I’m looking for is one person to lead the charge pulling together a group of five Canadian citizens, each from a different household.”

    Can you be that person? As she has said, she will absolutely be helping in many capacities throughout the whole process. You will NOT be doing this alone!

  2. Amanda PainterAmanda Painter Post author

    Exciting news from Marcy!

    Amanda, I found someone. :) She was a volunteer and knows many of the people in the same informal volunteer network I circle in. She’s awesome and totally gun ho and we are going to do it. We just need 4 more people in Edmonton, Alberta to join us! I believe it will happen.

    When I found her and realized it was really real I cried. She also has a place for he and his family to live. And also others have come out of the woodwork offering to help raise money, which is a total dream.

    It’s going to happen.

    Thank you again for posting.

    So, if any Planet Waves readers live in Edmonton, Alberta, or have friends who do: now that there’s a point person, would you be interesting in being one of the sponsoring “group of five” for this Syrian family? Thank you for passing this along!

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