A refugee family from Africa is feeling the love of the Winkler community.

Flory Bagaya said he first felt the warmth of the community at the Winkler MB Church, and now at the Grace Church.

"They opened their hearts and hands," he said, in making him feel welcome.

Now the community has stepped up again to help sponsor his brother and his brother's family to join them in Canada.

Bagaya survived the civil wars in the Congo before travelling to Uganda as a refugee in 2007. Four years ago he immigrated to Canada and was soon joined by his wife. Together they recently welcomed their daughter to the family.

Local resident Kara Wieler has been involved with previous Syrian refugee sponsorships and began the process with Bagaya in January 2016.

Working with the MCC, Wieler explained they hope to bring the extended Bagaya family, including their five young children, as soon as possible, providing access to better education and healthcare.

Currently, the sponsorship group at the Grace Church in Winkler is fundraising towards the goal of one year of expenses for the family, an estimated $46,000.

The group held a fundraiser called, "A Taste of Africa" on June 3, which raised approximately $10,000.

"I was overwhelmed by the positive response and the amazing atmosphere on Saturday night," Wieler said. "It was an amazing opportunity to connect with the community and that in itself made the event worth it."