WINCHESTER – For the past two years, a group of local volunteers, organized as the Dundas Coalition for Refugee Support, have been meeting and fundraising on a regular basis to welcome and support a family a world away to Dundas County.

Recently, the collective received word that their family is expected to arrive in Winchester in the coming weeks.

“We have been working hard to give ‘our’ family a warm welcome here to Canada, and make sure they get a great quality of life here,” said Moira Law, chair of the coalition. “We have short-term housing ready for them, and we’re working on education, language training, health care, and fundraising to help them adjust well here in Canada.”

The family of five (husband, wife, twin six-year-old girls, and a 15-year-old boy) are currently in the process of completing their final medical exams and security checks, and taking a mandatory course on Canada and Canadian culture.

“Our community has an amazing history of being there for people in their time of need. We are reaching out globally to help an innocent Syrian family who had their lives shattered by civil war and terrorism,” said North Dundas Mayor Eric Duncan, also the coalition’s vice-chair. “To date, we’ve raised [more than] $10,000 and we know there is much more support out there waiting. It’s truly heartwarming; people are reaching out with financial support, offered to buy groceries, and to make them just feel welcome here in our community.”

To respect the privacy and safety of the family, the committee does not publish any personal information online, but donors and supporters will receive periodic updates by email newsletter. Business and community members can also sign up for updates, as well as volunteer or offer support or donations by visiting www.dundasrefugeesupport.ca.

As well, a GoFundMe page has also been activated in order to fundraise for the family’s needs as they settle into life in Canada. Visit www.gofundme.com/dundasrefugee for more information.