Clothes, household goods donated for Syrian refugees

Thousands of bags of clothing and household goods have been amassed for incoming Syrian refugees and $10,000 has been donated to local multicultural groups following a collection drive in Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John.

Collection drive raises $10K in Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton

Fredericton Value Village worker Gabriel Shaw sorts donated clothing. Syrian refugees will receive vouchers to pick out clothing and household goods at the stores in Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John. (Jennifer Sweet/CBC)

New Brunswickers have donated thousands of bags of clothing and household goods for Syrian refugees arriving in the province, according to the managing director of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council.

The items were collected in Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John on Dec. 12.

Alex LeBlanc, the managing director of the multicultural council, said the group is pleased with the amount of donations received so far.

Anne Kelly sorts clothes at Value Village in Fredericton. New Brunswickers donated thousands of bags of clothing and household goods through the New Brunswick Association for Community Living during a one-day drive on Dec. 12. (Jennifer Sweet/CBC)
He said he is confident the refugees will have everything they need when they arrive. 

"There's been a huge support from community partners and cities, the provincial government — so there's a lot of resources to leverage right now, which is great," said LeBlanc.

For every bag of clothing donated in each city, the New Brunswick Association for Community Living gave $3 to the Multicultural Association of Fredericton, the Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area and the Saint John YMCA.

That raised about $10,000, said LeBlanc.

In addition, Value Village is going to give a store credit of $300 for each Syrian newcomer.

LeBlanc said they will be able to use the credits in early January, but the exact time has yet to be determined.

MCAF, MAGMA and the Saint John Y are looking after local logistics such as housing, and registering for school and health services.

The house at the corner of Odell Avenue and Saunders Street was the residence of the Wilmot Park caretaker from 1918 until 2013. (Google Streetview)
The City of Fredericton announced Tuesday that it is offering the use of the former caretaker's house in Wilmot Park to assist in the resettlement of refugees for the next 12 months.
"The neighbourhood had expressed concerns about it being left vacant and it's in the perfect location to help the MCAF," said Mayor Brad Woodside.

The house is on Odell Avenue, and right across the street from the MCAF office.

Newcomer Syrian families will stay there for five to seven days before moving to more permanent lodgings, said Lisa Bamford de Gante, MCAF executive director.

"Families will arrive, often at night, tired, in an unfamiliar city. In those first few days, while they get their bearings, they will have easy access to the MCAF and people that speak the same language right across the street.

"That will make a difference in helping them feel more comfortable," she said in a news release.

The only cost to the city will be a modest increase in the utility bill, said Woodside.

"So it's something we could offer at a low cost while providing a big benefit to people in need," he said.

The city said it will also be providing a vacant storage depot for furniture donations in the Vanier Industrial Park.

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