Syrian refugees to be welcomed by several Nova Scotia communities

Groups in Timberlea and Shelburne prepare for arrival of Syrian families.

Timberlea Baptist Church expects a Syrian couple with five children to arrive in the next few months

Timberlea Baptist Church has just filed its paperwork, but expects a Syrian couple with five children to arrive by the end of December or early January.

"When the word went out, I sat there with almost tears in my eyes," said Ben John, a member of the church's refugee sponsorship committee. "Just to get out of that place and have good health care, good food, and good education."

The congregation has already found a house for the family and plan to stock it with food, just before they arrive. They're also collecting gift cards so the newcomers can buy their own clothing.

The Timberlea church also has plans to bring a second Syrian family to the area.  

"We had to make a decision to bring one family right now because the need is so acute," said John. "But we'd like to bring another family within the next three months, after the first one has arrived." 

The congregation is reaching out to other local churches and to the wider community for support.

A Shelburne group is not as far along in the process to sponsor a family, but it doesn't expect a prolonged wait.

"Now, the way things are moving politically, it sounds as though three to six months could be quite reasonable," said Cathy Holmes, a member of the Shelburne refugee sponsorship committee.

A "housewarming" event to gather household furnishings is planned for Nov. 1 at the Shelburne Harbour Yacht Club. 

People have also pledged professional support. 

"We have people who have said they'll taxi people back and forth to appointments," said Holmes. "We have other people who have said, 'I can help in the area of counseling.'"

The group is working with the United Church of Canada. 

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