Stettler will soon be home to a family from Congo, thanks to the efforts of the Stettler Refugee Sponsorship Committee (SRSC).
The past six months, it has been quite the experience for a group of local community members, who have taken upon themselves to sponsor a refugee family of five to the community.
“We have a very warm and welcoming community and much to offer to a family that has been displaced from their home country by civil war and bloodshed,” said Lucille McKee, chairperson for the committee. “We are working with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Calgary and moving forward in fulfilling our goal – a goal to offer a refugee family a hope for a better future for themselves.”
The committee is comprised of several of the churches, community professionals, business owners, and local community people.
“From meeting for the first time in January 2017 with just a prospect of sponsoring a refugee family, we are now preparing for the possibility that our family could arrive in Stettler within weeks,” McKee added. “The family, consisting of the parents and their four children are currently living in Ethiopia.”
The sponsorship committee is responsible for the family for 12 months. For six months of that year, SRSC are in an agreement with the federal government, whereby they provide financial support based on the Social Assistance allowance in the province. The community sponsorship group is responsible for finding housing and furnishing it adequately with basic needs for the family.
“We are financially responsible for the remaining six months, and it will be based on the same scale used by the federal government, so we are hoping to fundraise enough to cover additional needs that will inevitably arise,” McKee explained. “We are reaching out to the community for support through donations to ensure that the family’s needs are being met.”
SRSC is looking for donations of furniture, household items, children’s items, and volunteers.
“It is our great hope that our family will arrive as close as possible to the beginning of the school year, and have the children start school with the Stettler students,” McKee said.
For further information or for donations, community members can contact Nancy Aspenes at 403-740-6457 or via firstname.lastname@example.org; and Lucille McKee at 403-916-4433 or via email@example.com. Financial donations may also be dropped off at Stettler United Church office, Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. until noon. A charitable tax receipt will be issued for the calendar year in which the donation was made.
The group can also be reached through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Stettler-Refugee-Sponsorship-Committee-501021353573045/