Ross Firm & Knox Church’s “Welcome Project - Syria” Brings First Family To Goderich.

We are thrilled to share the news that the first Syrian family will arrive in Goderich February 21, 2016.

They will be leaving Beirut on Friday and arriving in Montreal, where they will go through all the immigration and citizenship processing. On Sunday, they will leave Montreal after two nights in a hotel to fly into the Toronto. We will have a team ready and waiting at the airport to welcome them and bring them home to Goderich.

We will be glad to welcome Zaher Alchbli, Batoul Almussa, and their daughter Abeer Alchbli. I’m sure it will be an overwhelming first few days. We will be working hard to provide the family privacy, dignity, and space when they arrive, as well as supporting them in their first weeks. The Orientation Team will be working over the next month very intensively with the family to ensure that they are oriented to Goderich, that they have all received doctor, dental, and optometry check-ups, that they have set up all financial and government details of their residency, and that they have all their household needs. The Finance Team will be guiding the family through much of the paperwork. The Health Team has set up wonderful providers in the community. The Clothes Team is ready to ensure the family is prepared for February in Goderich. The Food Team has prepared a full pantry. The Home Team has created a lovely and comfortable home for the family. As the weeks go by, the Education Team will begin their work of helping the family connect to ESL and other language support programs. The Recreation Team will introduce the family to skating, the Y, and so much more. The Transportation Team will be helping make all of this possible. The Home Maintenance Team is prepared to offer a helping hand as needed.

There will be many fundraising events coming up quickly that the dedicated Fundraising Team is working on. Mark March 19th on the calendar for the Gimme Shelter concert and April 16 for the Syrian dinner. Donations of clothing and cheques are still welcome at the office at Knox Goderich. There are still some household needs - which are listed below.

In conversation with the refugee Co-ordinator for The Presbyterian Church in Canada, we are uncertain when we will be matched with the second family. The government is focused on reaching their number of 25,000 by the end of the month and they have not added new Syrian cases to the Blended Visa (BVOR) program for a month. The hope is that once the number is reached for government sponsored refugees, then more names will become available. We do hope that this will happen soon! A huge thank you to the many, many people who have worked to make this day possible. The donations of money, furniture, clothing, food, time, and so much more have made a huge difference. Sometimes we can feel hopeless in the face of tragedy but together we are showing that hope is always possible.

Theresa McDonald-Lee & Quinn Ross
Co-Chairs, Welcome Project Syria