Nova Scotia

Syrian refugee donation centre in Bayers Lake to close Jan. 5

The province will shut down the Refugee Donations Drop-off Centre in Bayers Lake on Tuesday, instead of the end of January as originally planned.

No donated items will be accepted after Tuesday due to 'tremendous' response

Winter coat donations hang on a rolling rack at the donation centre to support Syrian refugees in Halifax. The centre will close almost a full month earlier than planned. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

The province will stop accepting donated items for Syrian refugees at a drop-off centre in the Bayers Lake Business Park earlier than planned.

"Initially, we planned to accept donations until the end of January, but the response has been so tremendous that we have more than enough to meet the needs of the incoming refugees," said provincial Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab.

"Refugees and their sponsors will access donated items at the centre over the next few months."

The centre, located in the former Rona store at 350 Horseshoe Lake Dr., will be open for the last time Tuesday, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Nova Scotians have also donated thousands of hours collecting, sorting and shelving the nearly 6,000 bags of clothing, furniture and personal items dropped off at the centre, said centre manager Bill Hatter. 

He said there have been 300 to 400 volunteer hours put in daily at the centre since it opened on Dec. 4.

Centre set up like department store

On Wednesday, there were 47 volunteers at the centre.

"And we're talking Christmas season, when people are away," Hatter said.

The centre is set up in six sections much like a department store — men's, women's and children's clothing; furniture and household and toiletry products.

Volunteers will continue to be needed to keep it operating.

Shopping baskets and carts are provided for the people who come to the location.

With the centre no longer open for donations, the 211 number will not be logging calls and emails offering support for Syrian refugees.

The most needed items now are: winter outerwear such as jackets, boots, sweaters, mitts and hats; tables and chairs; baby gear; and personal hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste and shampoo.

Volunteers are now in the process of sorting the donations that have come in. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

What's still needed

Donations accepted include:

  • winter outerwear and footwear (children and adults) 
  • warm sweaters and socks (children and adults) 
  • children's clothing (all sizes)
  • new toiletries - feminine hygiene products, shampoo, soap, deodorants, toothbrush/paste, combs, razors, shaving cream, body lotion 
  • baby gear and supplies such as strollers, cribs, playpens (new or in excellent working condition), diapers - all sizes including for older children, baby wipes
  • toys, arts and crafts
  • new backpacks with school supplies
  • gift cards for groceries and household goods
  • furniture - bed frames, kitchen tables, chairs, coffee tables, etc.
  • household items - kitchenware, lamps, curtains/blinds, towels, etc.

Donations NOT accepted are: 

  • used mattresses
  • food
  • electronics, TVs etc.
  • clothing (other than as above)
  • books
  • large appliances and furniture (fridges, stoves, couches)


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