Calgary donations to Syrian refugees overwhelm organizers

Organizers of a Syrian refugee donation campaign say the response by Calgarians has been so great, that helping other refugees is now possible.

About 180 volunteers have been sorting and distributing donations to Syrian refugees from a Calgary warehouse

A group collecting donations for Syrian refugees has been overwhelmed by the response by Calgarians. (CBC)

Organizers of a Syrian refugee donation campaign say the response by Calgarians has been so great, that helping other refugees is now possible.

"We are very full on clothes though, no more clothes," Liz Jomaa said.

Jomaa is one of about 180 volunteers who have been working non-stop since Saturday collecting, sorting and distributing donated items to Syrian refugee families.

Liz Jomaa is an organizer with a group collecting donations for Syrian refugees. She says 180 volunteer have been working non-stop on the program. (CBC )

"I am so proud. Everyone has stepped up," she said.

"It has just been amazing, it has blown my mind how many people have donated, volunteered."

She said while they have more than enough clothing, there is still an ongoing need for furniture, bedding, tables, couches and household items.

George Nachef is one of those Syrians benefiting from the generosity.

George Nachef, left, and his brother Jack. George, a Syrian refugee, says Canada feels like home. (CBC)

"The treatment from the Canadian people and all the welcome, it is overwhelming," George said through his Calgarian brother Jack Nachef who translated.

"I feel like home here," he said.

The response has been so overwhelming that the warehouse in Vista Heights has enough donations to help refugee families from other countries as well.

A family of four from the African country of Eritrea were able to get furniture and some toys for their two young children.

Calgarians have been so generous in their response to the needs of incoming Syrian refugees, that other refugees, like this family from Eritrea, have also been helped. (Stacee Barton/CBC )

Organizer Jomaa says donations have been pouring in from Calgarians of all walks of life.

"Doctors, lawyers, everybody is pitching in to help as much as they can," Jomaa said.

"It's been great."

George Nachef, meanwhile, says the generosity Calgarians have shown toward his family, his wife and 12-year-old son, will help them settle in and begin a life without bombs and missiles.

A warehouse in Calgary is full of donations for refugees from Syria and other countries. (CBC)

"It is nice to see this type of service for people like me, this will give me a great push in Calgary so I can focus on other stuff, look after a job and make it easier for me to live in Calgary and move on with my life," he said.

The volunteer group has the warehouse for three months and will reassess at that time whether it needs it for longer.

Jomaa says the response to the call for donations, has been far more than they expected.

Some of the roughly 180 volunteers that have helped with a Syrian refugee donation program. (Saima Jamal)

"Unbelievable. It is blowing my mind," Jomaa said.

"In 3 days … we have already helped more than 20 families that have come through … I am so proud to be a Calgarian right now."

Calgarians wanting to donate, volunteer or help can get up to date information from the group's Facebook page.