As you may have heard, roughly 1,100 Syrian refugees are expected to arrive in Waterloo Region by the end of the year.
Waterloo Region is one of six Ontario reception areas for the incoming Syrian refugees. We have already started to receive more than 1,000 government assisted and privately sponsored refugees, but the majority of them arriving in January and February of 2016
Unlike us Canadians, they are not used to the severe winter climate and most have no idea what to expect. On average, Syria has a Mediterranean influenced climate characterized by long, hot and mostly dry summers with a mild, wet winter. Imagine the shock one would experience going from that to a -20 degrees Celsius, harsh Ontario winter without the necessities needed to keep warm.
There is indeed a shortage of winter clothing and supplies for these refugees, but The Salvation Army has come to the rescue! They have organized a winter clothing drive, and there are multiple drop-off locations throughout the Region where community members can donate gently used items.
High priority items include: sweaters, snow pants, winter coats (preferable -25 degrees or below), hats, gloves, scarves, boots, and blankets.
If you are in Uptown, our office has opened its door as a drop-off location for the clothing drive. Once a week we will take the donations brought into our office to The Salvation Army. We are located at 40 King Street South, and community members can bring items from 10:00a.m.-5:00p.m. Monday-Friday.
To find out where and how you can help incoming refugees, Waterloo Region has created ‘wrwelcomesrefugees’.
We cannot imagine what these people are going through and want to do everything possible to ensure they are comfortable, and welcomed here in Kitchener-Waterloo!