Refugee Resettlement Task Force
Watch “To Breathe Free” - a short documentary and winner of "Best Documentary Short" at the Covellite International Film Festival 2017 - the story of two refugee families and our church’s desire to walk alongside them.
CCPC has been sponsoring a Syrian refugee family since March, 2016. In a partnership with Lutheran Social Services—one of the official U.S. resettlement agencies—CCPC committed to providing housing plus many volunteer hours to help the family adapt to their new country.
The outpouring of support from CCPC members enabled the family to move into a fully-furnished apartment with donated furniture, household goods and a well-stocked pantry. Church volunteers have provided tutoring in English, child care, and rides to numerous appointments so the family could apply for Social Security cards and government benefits and meet with their LSS case worker and employment counselors.
Church members fluent in Arabic helped with translation of documents and interpreting. Volunteers also helped them open bank accounts, obtain dental care, prepare income tax returns, look for work, and enroll their daughter in the local elementary school. CCPC’s weekday nursery school provided a scholarship so the son could attend, and his mother volunteered as a teacher’s aide in one of the classes.
Because the goal for any sponsored refugee family is achieving self-sufficiency, the task force worked with the family to develop a financial plan. Initially, donated funds were used to pay for rent, utility bills, etc., but due to the father’s work in construction and landscaping, the family gradually has assumed more of their expenses so they can become financially independent.
The church has benefited enormously from our connections with this family. True friendships have developed, and members have learned a lot about their culture and religion. Members are now working with other refugee families, most in tutoring them in English. CCPC’s example also led other congregations to decide to sponsor refugees, and the task force members have mentored many churches and synagogues on how to do it.