To honour the seven children killed in the Halifax fire, one woman is leading an effort to have neighbours put out teddy bears on their front porches and window sills.

Andrea Bennett and her children were among dozens of people gathered outside the destroyed house on Tuesday night to mourn the children.

She told she felt it was important to show support for the grieving parents from Syria who had started a new life for their family in Canada.

“I can’t even comprehend what this family is going through,” said the mother of two from the Spryfield community in Halifax, who lives just down the street from the family.

She said some neighbours weren’t able to attend Tuesday’s vigil, but wanted to know what else they could do. So Bennett and her cousin Angela Pellerine came up with an idea.

“So we thought to put stuffies and stuffed bears out to represent the children and to keep them in our thoughts and prayers,” Bennett said, adding the displays would also serve as a tribute to the first responders.

On Wednesday morning, she wrote a public post on Facebook asking her friends if they would want to join in.

“What if, as a community, tonight we place stuffed animals outside our doors in memory of the children, like the hockey sticks for the Humboldt Broncos players. What does everyone think?” she wrote.

The post has already been shared more than 50 times. One commenter suggested people “leave your stuffies and cards of thought out for as long as you want. Like I said, looking at those beautiful little faces this morning tears your insides apart.”

The seven children who perished in the fire are:

  • Ahmad Barho, 14 years old
  • Rola Barho, 12 years old
  • Mohamad Barho, 10 years old
  • Ghala Barho, 8 years old
  • Hala Barho, 3 years old
  • Rana Barho, 2 years old
  • Abdullah Barho, 3 months old

The 39-year-old father, Ebraheim Barho, and the 40-year-old mother, Kawthar Al Hamad, are in hospital. Barho has life-threatening injuries. Al Hamad suffered minor injuries.

The family had fled war-torn Syria and, thanks to a private sponsorship group, came to Canada in September 2017.

Bennett encouraged people to donate to a GoFundMe page which was started by a separate N.S. resident. But she said her teddy bear campaign is “a tiny little gesture to show that we care and that these kids are in our hearts.”

While Bennett will put out seven stuffed animals on her porch to represent each of the seven children, she encourages people to leave out as many stuffed animals as they can.

And if they’re worried about the animals getting wet from snow, Bennett said people can leave them in their windows.

“So many people want to do something … to really do something to keep the memories of these children alive,” she said adding that the campaign would start on Wednesday afternoon.

With files from The Canadian Press