The first backpacks were dropped off this week and what a sight that was!
It is heartwarming to see the effort that has gone into picking out these items,with thought for what these children might find not only useful,but entertaining and soothing.
And it is heartwarming to see that it is not just people in Surrey who are stepping up, but people who live outside our own city.
We are pleased to announce that the distribution will be handled via a local front line agency, Options Community Services, who will be directly helping families with settlement services in Surrey.
They are currently updating their website to include donations specifically for Syrian refugees in terms of cash, housing options and/or volunteering.They will also be looking for Arabic speaking volunteers especially, so please contact them directly if you can assist with any of the above. Because storage is an issue, please do not just drop things off at the office, but please contact them first to find out the guidelines.
Because storage is an issue, I’ll continue to manage the acceptance of the backpacks until they can accommodate or distribute. Because the government and agencies are still working out the details on arrivals, how many etc, we do not have a firm date for distribution,but I will keep you updated!!
To date, there are firm commitments for nearly a hundred backpacks, and they are slowly coming in! If you have promised a backpack, please arrange with me to drop off or have it picked up at your earliest convenience! ( Update Nov.27th- the bulk of incoming govt sponsored refugees will occur in January and February- our time pressure is relieved significantly since the original announcement of 500 kids before years end)
We are still looking for more backpacks, either via individual donations
So,if you know of a business or organization that would like to send some our way, please let me know! We would really like to make sure every child & teen coming in, is able to have one of these backpacks.
I’d also like to thank the great folks from the Cloverdale Rodeo/fairgrounds and WestCoast amusements, for a generous donation of 100 plush toys to pair with each backpack.It always makes a difference, when you give where you live and we appreciate that so much!!
backpacks, non gender specific. ( we would like to have some designed for kids under 9, the rest aimed for tween and teens)
crayons.pencil crayons, pens,pencils, erasers, notebooks, binders etc. Basic items most kids/teens can use for school and to pass time outside of school.
Colouring books are great stress-relievers,also will help keep kids amused while parents are dealing with settlement issues.
Those stretchy one size fits all gloves & toques for winter
** If there is one thing that the refugee crisis has highlighted, it is the tremendous need for assistance at every level in our city. There is no better time for you to find out how and where you can help make a difference, and why it is so important that we all lobby for more funding at the provincial and federal level.