After more than a year of fundraising and preparation, ROAD (Refugee Outreach Anglicans of Durham) welcomed a refugee family in May at Pearson airport. ROAD is a multi-parish committee led by St. George, Pickering Village, along with St. Paul on-the-Hill, Pickering, All Saints, Whitby, St. Thomas, Brooklin and St. George Memorial, Oshawa. With the help of AURA (Anglican United Refugee Alliance) and Ian McBride, its executive director, the group accomplished its aim. The family was found and a flight arranged.
The family of seven had fled Syria and lived for five years in a refugee camp in Turkey. After their arrival in Canada, they lived in temporary housing for two months while the committee found a suitable rental home. The parishes had collected enough items to completely furnish their new home.
The children started school in September, and the adults are taking English classes at the Ajax Welcome Centre. Volunteers from the parishes helped with English over the summer, taking the family to medical and dental appointments and shopping. They are becoming used to the transit system and are gradually needing less help from ROAD.
“This whole adventure has been inspiring for our parishes,” says Bruce Beveridge, a member of St. Thomas, Brooklin. “Reaching out and helping the less fortunate has drawn us closer to our faith.”