We were quite happy to have a break in the rain for the first pick-up of backpacks by Options Community Services yesterday! Senior Manager Joe Woodsworth arrived and we quickly loaded and counted 57 backpacks that will be given to welcome incoming Syrian refugee children and teens through Options, who are part of a community support response.
This load included all backpacks that have been either dropped off or picked up by yesterday, including empty ones that we loaded with supplies donated separately. Every backpack also contains a lovely stuffed animal courtesy of Cloverdale Rodeo and West Coast amusements,who we are very grateful to for their quick and generous donation. We checked each bag to ensure everything was safe and proper and labelled each bag with the sex and age of the child it would best suit to make it easier for distribution.
There are still backpacks being held over the holiday season by their donors ( 30 coming from the students at Peace Arch Elementary!!), that will be picked up by Options in January, and we are anticipating up to 100 more from an independent school and organization in Richmond by January 20th- I’ll have updates for both those deliveries. I can’t say enough how overwhelming it’s been at times, to see the care put into so many of these backpacks. When fear and ignorance was rife in the news and social media, all of you stepped up and pushed back with love and compassion to welcome these children and families.
I’d like to thank everyone who so generously bought and filled a backpack, donated supplies and volunteered – it was a pleasure meeting each of you!! I’ll post another update in January when the next delivery happens!
Until then, if you wish to assist the settlement of Syrian refugees in Surrey,Options is looking for donations of cash, Arabic speaking volunteers and anyone with leads on jobs for refugees. More information can be found at this link: http://www.options.bc.ca/home/news-event/help-syrian-refugees