First United Presbyterian Church of Fayetteville sponsored a refugee family through Canopy Northwest Arkansas, the refugee resettlement organization in Northwest Arkansas.
Beginning in August with a team training, the six-member team learned about refugees and their presence in our area. Team members welcomed the family at the airport on September 1, gathered donations and helped them move into their new home, and joined the family for a variety of activities including baking, getting to know the local bus route, and shopping..
Through the generosity of church members, the family was provided with winter clothing, bikes for transportation, and holiday meals. Members of the family have settled into their schools and jobs, made friends with neighbors, and gotten comfortable in Northwest Arkansas. Church members introduced the family to the library, the grocery store, and other neighborhood resources. Friendships were formed, and the family got a chance to practice their English.
The team will be in place till March 1. The family still needs some support with transportation, banking, and grocery shopping. The goal of Canopy and the team is to help the family be self-sufficient and independent, as well as comfortable in their new home.
The family visited FUPC and were welcomed by many members. They found a church near their home offering services in their native language and joined there. FUPC will continue the connection — and perhaps sponsor other families in the future.
The team includes Rob Button, Dennis Nelson, Leigh Woodruff, Elizabeth Houle, Rebecca Haden, Bo Morton, Lupe Gonzales, Ron Woodruff, and Jesse Koeppe. Thurmond and Karen Crocker, Isaac Rippelmeyer, and many other church members have joined in, and Amethyst Osborne of Canopy NWA has worked with the team.