Local charities hope to benefit from generosity toward refugees
As the donations pile up at drop-off centres for Syrian refugees, other charities stand to benefit from the generosity of Maritimers.
Dominic Fewer of the Emergency Management Office of Nova Scotia says the response was beyond their expectations.
Within a week, the 100,000-square-foot old Rona building in Halifax was filled in an impressive way.
“I think in our last calculation we have probably about five to 6,000 bags of clothes and articles, shoes – those sort of things,” said Fewer.
That, along with hundreds of pieces of furniture, small appliances, dishes, toiletries, strollers, toys and stuffed animals.
The centre will be closed for the holidays, but volunteers will be busy putting together shelving and beginning the mammoth task of sorting thousands of bags of clothing.
“We want to make sure that when they come to pick out the clothing and those types of things, it's a good experience for them,” said Fewer.
Once everything is sorted, EMO will determine what they still need.
The Nova Scotia government has said the province could resettle as many as 1,500 refugees. EMO says that’s the number it’s using to make its plans.
But even with the high estimate, it's clear they've already collected more donations than they could possibly use.
“We're committed to ensure that everything that we've gotten will be shared out among all Nova Scotians,” said Fewer.
Fewer says the province will be reaching out to shelters and organizations.
Kevin McKay of Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank is thrilled by the generosity towards Syrian refugees, but not surprised.
“We have people calling us 10 and 15 times a day asking to donate items,” he said.
McKay says he would welcome the chance to target specific items on Parker Street's client wish list.
“It will mean that we don't have to wait quite as long, basically,” said McKay.
With file from CTV Atlantic’s Sarah Ritchie.