SHELBURNE: Two new Syrian families will be welcomed to Shelburne during a reception March 10 at Shelburne Regional High School.
The Shelburne Area Refugee Sponsorship Committee, or 875.SHARES, is the group responsible for bringing the families to Shelburne and have arranged the reception so that both the families and the community have an opportunity to meet and get to know one another.
The families arrived in Nova Scotia in February, and according to Joanne McFadden, the chairwoman of the sponsorship committee, they are settling in well. The children are attending school, and are receiving instruction in English to improve their language skills. Other family members have been fortunate enough to have local community members step in as interpreters, and will also be receiving English education.
Though the United Church provided sponsorship to the committee, it is non-denominational event.
“We really want the community to come out. This has been a community endeavour,” McFadden says. “We want people to come out and meet the families and get to know them. We could not have done this without the community.”
McFadden says that now that the families have arrived, there are ways people can help out. One issue is around transportation. Because neither family has a vehicle, the committee is looking for volunteers to provide transportation for grocery shopping and for medical and other appointments. Anyone able to help with this should contact Cathy Holmes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another thing McFadden stresses is how important it is for the families to get out into the community and not be isolated in their homes. They would like to get to know Canada and Canadians. Sightseeing, travelling around Shelburne County and being involved in events happening throughout the community is a crucial part of helping them feel comfortable and connected here.
Anyone interested in getting involved can contact the committee through its Facebook page, Shelburne Area Refugee Sponsorship/875.SHARES, or by calling (902) 875-2943.
Good to know:
• The March 10 reception will include entertainment and guest speakers. People are invited to bring some of their favourite appetizers or finger foods to share.
• The reception will be held in the common area at SRHS from 6 to 8 p.m.
• Organizers are expecting to have several Canadian and Syrian dishes on hand.
• Because the families are Muslim, it is requested that any food brought to the reception meet certain dietary restrictions – no pork, gelatine, or alcohol (including extracts like vanilla, which contain alcohol), and all meat must be halal.