(CBS) – It’s the story of neighbor helping neighbor for the holidays.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports one family’s special gift for a group of Syrian refugees now living in the Chicago area.

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In little over a year, Rehab Alkadi, her husband and son have built a new life in the United States.

“We are new here — new culture, new language, new everything — so it was so hard for me,” Alkadi says.

Harder still were circumstances at home. Her husband, a doctor, was imprisoned by the Syrian government for 10 months.

Bridget Schank has never met Alkadi. But she and others, including her children, wanted to help.

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Thursday, they delivered $1,300 in gift cards they raised for refugee families from Facebook page. Classmates also wrote welcoming cards.

Suzanne Sahloul’s Syrian Action network will distribute not just the gifts, but the gesture’s larger message

“This is a testament of who we are as Americans,” she says.

Alkadi’s husband is working on his doctor’s certification in the U.S. while being employed as a clerk in a medical practice. She’s a trained engineer who barely spoke English 12 months ago.

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