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'God Lives Here'
(Photo above: Sikh temple leaders tour Matthew's House. Left to right are Gurmail Singh Brar (Kalgidhar Darbar Sahib Society), Alan Cavin (Matthew’s House), Hari Atwal, Surjit Atwal (constituency assistant to MLA Darryl Plecas), and Resham Sing Atwal.)
Earlier this month, leaders from Abbotsford's three Sikh temples toured Matthew’s House to get to know how it helps the local community. The facility opened in November 2013 and provides respite to families that have children living with complex health care issues.
“Matthew’s House can bring peace of mind to parents struggling to care for a child with complex health care needs,” said Alan Cavin, resource development coordinator with Communitas Supportive Care Society, the operator of Matthew's House. “We wanted to be able to tell these community leaders about Matthew’s House so that they could let families in their congregations know about this resource.”
The seven guests watched a video that told the story of one family whose child lives with significant health care issues. One temple leader said that he was aware of at least two families in his congregation with children who lived with disabilities and could use Matthew’s House.
“It was amazing to have leaders from each temple come together to support Matthew’s House,” said tour organizer Surjit Atwal, constituency assistant to MLA Darryl Plecas. “We really created a partnership with the Sikh community and Matthew’s House…Many of these people didn’t know that Matthew’s House existed."
Operating Matthew’s House costs over $800,000 annually.
Following the tour, the temple leaders invited Cavin to make presentations to each congregation in order to encourage parents with children who have disabilities to visit Matthew’s House and to invite people to support it.
“Service and charity are two of the pillars of the Sikh faith,” said Atwal. “Family and children are very important to this community and they will support families in need.”
Upon leaving, each temple leader signed the guest book. One wrote: “God lives here.”
(Photo below: Temple leaders enjoy chai and sweets in the meeting room at Matthew’s House. Left to right are the leaders of the Gurdwara Baba Banda Singh Bahadar: Resham Singh Atwal, Kulwinder Singh Bath, Jasbir Singh Bajwa, Hari Atwal, Ranjit Singh, and Arminder Singh Sidu.)