Montreal refugee groups overwhelmed by clothing donations, ask for other goods

Montreal refugee organizations say they've been overwhelmed by the clothing donations but they still need other donations including toys, toiletries and school supplies.

Volunteers still needed, as well as toys, toiletries and school supplies

The Canadian Alliance for Syrian Aid says it now has in store enough clothes for refugees like this family, arriving in Greece recently. School supplies are among the items still needed. (CBC)

Montreal refugee organizations say they've been overwhelmed by clothing donations for Syrian refugees and are encouraging people to focus on other needed goods and services.

The Canadian Alliance for Syrian Aid said its Montreal warehouse is full to the brim with clothing, said alliance's Faisal Alazem.

More than 3,600 Syrian refugees are due to arrive in Quebec within the next month.

Thanks to the generosity of Montrealers, Alazem said his group now has enough winter gear to outfit every last one of them, he said.

"Every few minutes the phone rings, and it's all kinds of requests," he said. "People who want to volunteer, provide their services, others that just want to ask questions."

What donations are still needed

Alazem said other than clothes, much is still needed:

  • School supplies.
  • Books: children's books, language books, anything that will help them integrate.
  • Toys.
  • Toiletries.
  • Non-perishable food.
  • Affordable housing.
  • Volunteers of all kinds (to show them around, Arabic speakers, health workers).
  • Employers for apprenticeships and training.

Mountain of winter clothing

Alazem says he never expected the group's warehouse space to fill up so quickly, and he's had to hire a co-ordinator to help answer the phone and direct people who want to pitch in.

The group is now looking for help with the mammoth task of sorting through the donations.

"The next phase for us is doing a triage, trying to organize all those clothes, opening up the bags," he said.

"That way we can present them in a dignified way to the refugees once they arrive to Quebec."

For more information about donations and volunteering contact