FALL RIVER: It seemed only fitting that the Baroud family were serenaded with an unexpected rendition of O Canada after they finished cutting the cake recognizing their new home.

Wassem, Nour, Huda (Wassem’s mom), and their children, Bodi and Leen, all were welcomed by the close to 75 people who attended the kitchen party/potluck event. The family are refugees from Syria who were able to come to Canada through the Riverlake Syrian Refugee Project, a collaboration of community member and the five churches in the area.

“I am very happy now that I can say it, face to face, thank you all for giving us chance to start our life again,” said Nour. “We can plan for the future of our children. Thank you very much.”

Nour, Bodi, and Leen pose for a photo with Linda Chapman. (Healey photo)

The Baroud family arrived in Canada at Halifax Stanfield Airport in February, and have made a lot of progress acclimatizing to their new home. They’ve also made many new friends in Fall River, who Nour aptly calls more than friends.

“You’re all our family,” Nour said speaking before it was time to chow down.

She said the family is adjusting to their new home.

“We are very happy here,” she said. “We want to thank the people of Canada and the Canadian government.”

Huda Baroud plays the piano at St. John’s United Church. (Healey photo)

VIDEO: Baroud family serenaded with O Canada

PHOTOS: Baroud family potluck

Wassem was also thankful.

“You give us safe life for me and my family,” said Wassem. “We’re not just among friends, you are our family.”

On July 9, a kitchen party/potluck was held at St. John’s United Church in Fall River, with food brought in by many who attended the event, and cake made by Nour. The cake was emblazoned with the words ‘Thank You’, a Canadian Maple Leaf flag and 150, celebrating the countries 150th birthday.

“When we started this getting donations of furniture and such for the Baroud family, we had so much it was much more than we needed,” said Sue MacLean, chairwoman of the Riverlake Syrian Refugee Project volunteer group. “It was so much stuff, we were able to help out 35 refugee families.”

Sue MacLean, chairwoman of the Riverlake Syrian Refugee Project, with Leen. (Healey photo)

MacLean said the group’s work is not done yet.

“Wassem is now ready to go to work,” she said. “He has a fresh, Westernized resume. His interview shoes are polished. He’s a very talented and accomplished IT administrator.”

As Wassem, holding Bodi, finished cutting the cake, a gentleman started the crowd singing, breaking out into the Canadian anthem unprompted. That gesture alone was the perfect epitome of what the day meant for everyone.

The Baroud family with Sue MacLean (third from left) and two other Riverlake Syrian Refugee Project committee members. (Healey photo)