Calgary

Calgary Syrian refugees give $2K back to Fort Mac

When five-year-old Elie Khallas heard from his mom and dad about the terrible destruction in Fort McMurray, he couldn't help but recall what happened to him in Syria.

Syrian boy, 5, 'knows what they're going through, and he wants to help'

Elie Khallas, 5, is giving back. He donated his toys and books to Fort McMurray evacuees, just five months after receiving them himself as a Syrian refugee. (Erin Collins/CBC)

When five-year-old Elie Khallas heard from his mom and dad about the terrible destruction in Fort McMurray, he couldn't help but remember what happened to him in Syria.

Elie went to his room, packed up whatever toys and story books he had, and told his parents he wanted to give them to those children who were fleeing the fire.

"He said he knows what they're going through, and he wants to help," said Saima Jamal co-founder of the Syrian Refugee Support Group in Calgary.

Elie and his parents Rita and Salem arrived in Calgary as Syrian refugees in December. 

Salem, speaking through a translator, said they were greeted with such warmth and generosity upon their arrival

"Our family, when we arrived to Canada, they provided us with all the help we needed. We want to do that back. Exactly what they give us, we want to give them back in their time of need."

Elie and his dad Salem donated $400 to the Red Cross on behalf of the Syrian Refugee Support Group in Calgary.

He and other refugees with Calgary's Syrian Refugee Support Group have raised $1,960 so far for Fort McMurray evacuees.

Half of that has gone to the 99 Hampers for Hope initiative. 

Elie and his dad donated another $400 in cash to the Canadian Red Cross on behalf of the organization today, at the CBC's We've Got Your Back Fort Mac charity event.

"These people have so little themselves. They are ready to give back. It's nothing short of remarkable," said Jamal.

With files from Erin Collins

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