Ready and waiting for refugee family


The house is ready and waiting for Petrolia’s newest residents.

But it isn’t clear how long it will be waiting as the Anglican church based group sponsoring a Syrian family of six is still waiting for word of when the family will arrive.

“The house is ready,” says Sylvia Fairbank, one of the members of the group spearheading the drive. “We’ve been ready for a week or more.”

Fairbank says there has been an “outpouring of anything we needed” since the committee decided to sponsor the family. A home has been outfitted with all the furniture and appliances needed and household items such as cleaning products and pantry items are sitting ready. “We’ve even had clothing donated that is brand new and also car seats that are brand new.

“People want to help and it has been wonderful.”

Fairbank admits it is a bit frustrating to be waiting. “It is so strange for three weeks or longer, it was rush, rush, quick – tell us what airport you can meet them in…we need that information right now.” Now, the family is waiting in Lebanon for word when they can get on that Canadian bound plane.

Fairbank says it has been tough because the group “wants our family. We’re waiting impatiently.”

The group is putting its time to good use while it waits. Money is still coming in and the church is preparing for another family of four. It’s not clear where they will settle.

And Fairbank says church leaders have asked the Lambton group to take in another family – this time privately sponsoring them. That means the group will pay all of the family’s expenses for living for a year. “It is our intention to do that.”

If the family arrives soon, they will be part of a “getting-to-know you” session at the Petrolia Library. Liz Welsh says some of the Syrian families who have recently arrived in Lambton will be on hand March 16 to talk a little bit about their journey and to meet their new neighbours.

Welsh say if Petrolia’s newest residents have arrived by then – and they’re feeling up to it – they will be invited to come to the event also.

“People in Petrolia are interested in their culture,” she says. “This is another opportunity to learn about their culture, their faith and their language, so if we meet them in the grocery store we can say hello to them maybe even in their own language.”