Fredericton refugees to double by Sunday, 500 more in coming months

The Multicultural Association of Fredericton says it needs to step up efforts to accommodate an influx of Syrian refugees in the coming days.

500 more refugees expected to arrive in the next few days

A syrian boy tries on a knitted hat at the "Warm Welcome" event in Fredericton on Friday. (CBC)

The Multicultural Association of Fredericton says it needs to step up efforts to accommodate an influx of Syrian refugees in the coming days.

Lisa Bamford De Gante, executive director of the multicultural association, says the number of refugees in Fredericton will more than double to 175 by Sunday, with another 500 on the way in the coming months.
Lisa Bamford De Gante of the Fredericton Multicultural Association says settlement agencies prepared the Syrian refugees for a change to provincial social assistance since August. (CBC)

"We don't want to put a pause, we want to continue to be able to receive the families. But it means we have to step up, accelerate what we're doing," she said.

De Gante sats the multicultural association is looking for new beds and transportation to carry furniture and supplies to help families get established.

"We're also moving the families within three days of arrival now, nine or so families a week, so we need more physical resources to keep up our pace," she said.

In the meantime, many people are trying to help those who have already arrived feel at home.

Warm welcome

A special reception was help on Friday to welcome the new Syrian families to Fredericton, with hundreds of handmade hats, mittens, sweaters and blankets spread out for the newcomers to choose from.
Some of the many items knitted for Syrian refugees in Fredericton. (CBC)

Dubbed, "A Warm Welcome," the initiative was put together by artsnb, along with the multicultural association, the New Brunswick Crafts Council, the Fredericton Public Library, Yarns on York, and the Atlantic Institute on Aging.

One of the knitted hats had a note attached that said, "Hi my name is Lilly. I made this hat for you. I'm 9 years old. Welcome to Canada."

Majed Alkraiz said, through a translator, his family feels very welcomed after waiting over a year to come here.

Tilly Jackson one of those who created a homemade gift, said, "I was just hoping that whoever wears them will be kept warm and will feel special."