Catholic Community Services prepares to welcome Syrian refugee family with open arms

Catholic Community Services says a Syrian refugee family will arrive in Eugene soon. The family has been waiting to come to the U.S. for over two years. (SBG image)

EUGENE, Ore. – Catholic Community Services is preparing to welcome a Syrian refugee family to Lane County as part of its Refugee Resettlement Program.

The family has been waiting in Turkey for the last two and a half years.

Initially, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops asked Catholic Community Services to help facilitate the move. Now, there are nearly 100 volunteers helping the family relocate safely.

“Oregon will continue to welcome refugees with open arms as long as they've been vetted by the federal government,” Gov. Kate Brown said in November, 2015 amid a heated debate on whether to allow refugees in Oregon.

Months ago, Catholic Community Services of Lane County received a call to help.

“It's been amazing to see how well organized these volunteers have made themselves,” said Tom Mulhern from Catholic Community Services.

When the announcement came from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in May, leaders organized what they call a “Refugee Resettlement Coalition of Lane County.”

It’s made up of more than 100 volunteers taking part in 11 teams. The teams do everything from collecting donations to setting up jobs for the family.

All refugees must pass rigorous background checks and are required to pay back all air fare costs.

Volunteers said the refugees will arrive soon, but they can’t say exactly when for the safety of the family.

The Department of Human Services is the agency that oversees the whole process.

Catholic Community Services said although this will be the first family they help, they’d ideally like to get seven to 10 families per year.

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