Saint John YMCA prepares to welcome Syrian refugees
Published Saturday, November 28, 2015 12:26PM AST
Accommodating the stream of incoming Syrian refugees to the Maritimes will provide the first big test for the new YMCA facility in Saint John.
On Friday, the facility issued a call for anyone in the area who speaks Arabic to step forward.
"You can imagine arriving here, new city, new community, new country and you don't speak the language, you can't communicate,” said Shilo Boucher, Greater Saint John YMCA CEO. “It's really important to get interpreters out and helping us."
The YMCA Newcomers Connection Centre teaches English and job finding skills to newcomers every day.
Newcomer settlement co-ordinator Kelly Carline says money, clothing and housing are needed, and volunteers willing to help out with mundane tasks.
"Those who would help us with a lot of the documentation, people who like filling out forms,” said Carline. There will be a lot of Medicare forms to fill out and SIN numbers, applying for child tax benefits, all that kind of stuff.”
Saint John could be responsible for housing hundreds of Syrians. The amount of refugees arriving in each city and the timeline remains unknown.
But Pastor Wayne Murphy of Lancaster Baptist Church says donations have been pouring in.
"It's great to see the response we've had so far,” said Murphy. “I think Maritimers will continue to pour out their hearts and their generosity to help all of the folk’s community to Atlantic Canada."
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.