New Brunswick churches helping sponsor Syrian families
450 churches across Atlantic Canada have committed to sponsoring 50 families
The story and image of a drowned toddler from Syria has left many Canadians asking what they can do to help the war-torn country. In New Brunswick, a number of churches and their parishioners are not waiting for a political solution.
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Doug and Sheila Morgan are two of the people touched by what is happening in Syria and are parishioners at the Kennebecasis Baptist Church.
"How could you not do something?" Doug Morgan said.
Through their church, the couple will be sponsoring a Syrian family, which is both a significant financial and moral obligation. The couple will be responsible for getting the family an apartment and setting it up, finding medical providers, arranging schools for the children, as well as getting documentation like a health or social insurance card.
The Kennebecasis Baptist Church has a congregation of about 250 people. A committee will meet next week and review three to four files of Syrian families. The committee has to decide which family they think they can serve best. Once that decision is made, the family could be in N.B. within two months.
'They were pinching themselves'
Paul Carline with the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches says that 450 churches across Atlantic Canada have committed to sponsoring 50 families into the region. The first family to settle arrived last month.
"When the family arrived in Nova Scotia, on Aug. 20, they were pinching themselves, wondering whether they were awake or dreaming. It would feel like landing on another planet," said Carline.
More than four million refugees have fled Syria since the civil war began in 2011. There are also more than seven million internally displaced people within Syria.
The Canadian government has committed to hosting 3,000 Iraqis this year and 10,000 Syrians over the next three years.