Here’s how to help Syrian refugees arriving in Edmonton

by Scott Stevenson, CBC News 

With several aid organizations and charities expected to help Syrian refugees settle in Edmonton, it can be difficult for interested donors to figure out where and what to donate.

Accommodations, furniture, winter clothing and, of course, financial donations will help the newcomers when they arrive at their new homes

The Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers is providing guidance for those who want to help out.

“People can reach out to us and, depending on what kind of support they’re able to give, we can either connect them with the right people, or if it happens to be our agency that’s the lead in that front, we’ll make something happen,” said Mennonite Centre executive director Erick Ambtman.

Ambtman said that donations of money are always welcome.

“If we have dollars, we can meet the need as opposed to trying to source out a particular item or bus passes or something like that,” Ambtman said.

At this point, the primary focus is on finding suitable housing.

“If there are landlords out there who are willing to accommodate refugee families, that would be great to be able to connect with them,” said Ambtman.

As for the refugees who have already arrived, “so far, so good,” he said. The generosity of Edmontonians has been overwhelming, he added.

“I’m so proud to be an Edmontonian,” he said. “It’s heartwarming, the outpouring of support. People have just said ‘whatever you need.’ ”

But the true test is yet to come. Approximately 3,000 refugees are expected to arrive in Alberta before the end of the year. But Ambtman has faith .

“We’re so determined as a community to support this influx and these families, it’s amazing,” he said.

Those wanting to donate or volunteer can contact the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers at 780-424-7709.

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