Francis Fulton is among many Canadians who stood in solidarity with refugees by raising money and participating in Ride for Refuge.
By Hannah Scott
When Francis Fulton was rushing through a North Vancouver mall trying to run an errand between shifts, he didn’t think he had time to stop and talk to a UNHCR representative looking for support for refugees.
But after spending five minutes listening to the representative, he decided to sign on as a supporter of the UN Refugee Agency with a $100 donation. Afterwards, in a moment of reflection, he realized he was so concerned about trying to get from one job to another that he almost didn’t stop to think about the refugees unsure of whether they’ll survive the next day.
“It hit me pretty hard,” Fulton recalled.
That was three years ago. Now, Fulton is one of many Canadians who have become long-term supporters of UNHCR, making contributions to the organization through direct donations as well as fundraising for events. On October 5, 2019, Fulton joined thousands across the country who rode for Ride for Refuge, a cycling and walking fundraising event in support of organizations like UNHCR who provide refuge and hope for vulnerable people everywhere.
“It was great, and so much fun. The people were really friendly,” Fulton said, adding that it took him about an hour to finish the 25-kilometre ride.
“It was nice to do the ride and get other people’s support for UNHCR,” Fulton said. “Ride for Refuge made it easy to do this – I just had to add my profile to the website and start asking for money.”
With a grand total $3,430, Fulton cracked the top 10 of supporters for Ride for Refuge in Vancouver. He raised money by making phone calls and going into businesses around where he worked.
“The most generous people were my co-workers who just gave what they had, it all adds up.”
“People really do care,” Fulton said.
Fulton hopes to encourage others to think about the impact that financial support can have on the lives of refugees, and how a little help can go a long way.
According to UNHCR’s Global Trends report, 70.8 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations by the end of 2018. Of that total, more than 25 million are refugees. Funds raised in support of UNHCR will facilitate the organization’s work offering protection, shelter, food and health services for refugee families, and providing thousands of children with the opportunity to attend school.
Events like Ride for Refuge offer engaging and interactive ways to get involved in supporting refugees. Fulton is already gearing up the 2020 ride.
“I’ll be back next October to ride the 50 kilometres.”
Learn about how you can fundraise with UNHCR Canada.