CT churches planning to help Syrian refugees - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT churches planning to help Syrian refugees

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Several church groups in Connecticut are making plans to host up to 100 Syrian refugee families next year. (WFSB) Several church groups in Connecticut are making plans to host up to 100 Syrian refugee families next year. (WFSB)
OLD LYME, CT (WFSB) -

Several church groups in Connecticut are making plans to host up to 100 Syrian refugee families next year.

The program is called “10 In 10,” meaning 10 families in 10 cities across Connecticut will help.

Three churches in the lower Connecticut River Valley in Old Lyme and Old Saybrook have already started laying the groundwork.

"We found it to be an enriching experience for our congregation. It’s part of both our civic and faith traditions,” said Rev. Carleen Gerber, of the First Congregational Church in Old Lyme.

The civil war in Syria has forced 12 million Syrians from their homes. About 700,000 fled to Europe while hundreds of thousands have settled in camps, with few resources like food and warm clothing.

About 240,000 have been killed since the war began, including 12,000 children.

"Could be six, nine, 10, 12 months before we actually see a family that is currently in a refugee camp,” Gerber said.

A Connecticut Interfaith Coalition, which includes the First Congregational Church, are planning to host up to 100 families next year in Connecticut.

The lower Connecticut River Valley will host 10 families, just like it did 30 years ago, hosting four Laotian families who resettled after the Vietnam War.

Three of the local churches will meet at Old Lyme Town Hall on Sunday to further discuss bringing the Syrian refugees to the area.

Islamic centers around the state are being contacted to assist refugee families.

The New Haven-based Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services Organization (IRIS) is one of the agencies that will help settle Syrian refugee families, after months of screenings overseas.

"We are assured that the vetting process for anybody who is brought in as a refugee into the United States is very well done,” Gerber said.

Executive Director of IRIS Chris George said they are getting plenty of requests from individuals and companies to help refugee families once they are here.

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