United support

Summerlanders have come together in an overwhelming show of support for a family of Syrian refugees.

Summerlanders have come together in an overwhelming show of support for a family of Syrian refugees.

The family of five are scheduled to arrive in Summerland today. They are among 10,000 Syrian refugees coming to Canada over the next three years.

Summerland United Church is the sponsoring organization, but the support has extended far beyond the church’s membership.

This sponsorship has become a community effort.

Some have given money, some have donated supplies and furnishings for the home and some have helped with translation and other services.

This outpouring of generosity has served to bring the community together. People of many faiths and world views and many national or cultural backgrounds have contributed to the sponsorship effort.

This may be because most of us have our own stories of how and why we, our parents, our grandparents or earlier generations arrived here.

For the Albetar family, the details are different, but elements of their story will resonate with many of us.

The sponsorship needs do not end once the family arrives in Summerland.

The church has committed to caring for the needs of the family for one year. The costs involved are estimated at $18,000. So far, the church has received more than $8,000.

The Albetar family will need the support of the community in other ways as well.

The next year will be a time of transition for them as they adapt to a new country, a new language and many new customs and traditions. At times, it will be overwhelming.

A show of support and attempts at understanding will go far in easing this transition period.

The level of care and generosity shown so far has been impressive and will do much to help as this family adjusts to life in Canada.