Sitka brothers bake cookies to help Syrian refugee family

    SITKA, Alaska (AP) — Three Sitka brothers baked cookies to help a Syrian refugee family arrive safely in Canada.

    Blake, Dane and Nate LaPerriere, ages 15, 7 and 11, respectively, were excited to learn this week that the family made it to Canada with the help of a $20,000 fundraiser that they contributed to, the Sitka Sentinel reported ( ).

    The LaPerriere brothers heard about the needy family from their mother. Their aunt Allison Lawlor was part of the group that organized the fundraising efforts in Canada.

    "We thought it was something worth doing," Blake said. "We felt we were so fortunate that we should do something."

    The brothers said they baked hundreds of chocolate chip cookies that they sold last year. They set up a post in front of a grocery store with a donation jar and computer out so shoppers could learn more about the fundraiser. A sign told customers that they were raising money to bring a family to Canada, Nate said, but the siblings decided they should keep the politics of the civil war and refugee crisis out of their operation.

    Their mother, Jenn Lawlor, said most Sitka shoppers were receptive to the fundraiser. A few were "not super into it," Blake added.

    "I wasn't always there. But when I was, a lot of Sitkans were very happy we were doing this," Lawlor said. "It made them happy to know they were helping someone in Syria."

    The three were able to raise $1,000 in five days for the family.

    They learned on Thursday that the family made it to Halifax, a Canadian community of over 400,000. They also received a photo of the family on Friday.

    "I felt pretty excited," Blake said. "It felt good. We actually made fundraising happen and made some difference. Helping this family, I felt good about that."

    The younger brothers said they felt the same way. The boys hope to keep in touch with the family and see how they are doing.

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