Syrian refugees in Saint John in need of housing, home supplies
Communities are close to realizing goals set last fall for settling thousands of Syrian refugees, but there are still shortages of affordable housing and home supplies.
Muneer Al-Nasser and his wife, Amal, spent Thursday combing through countless items at a donation centre in Saint John, items they'll need to make a home.
The couple and their six boys recently arrived from Syria after spending time in a Jordanian refugee camp.
"They've lost everything,” said volunteer Wayne Harrison. “The idea that they can come into this church and take whatever they want and need for nothing, just fills their hearts with joy."
Everything at the Lancaster Baptist Church has been donated for the 363 Syrian refugees who have arrived in Saint John to date. But Rev. Wayne Murphy says the need is still there.
"Toiletries, soap, shampoo – that kind of stuff that families are always going to be in need of," said Murphy.
Furniture, especially kitchen chairs and dressers, are also in big demand. In another part of west Saint John, a separate clothing depot has been established.
Saint John resident Gary Smith says the community will benefit if the newcomers stay in the Maritimes.
"Hopefully they all secure employment and in the future, I'm sure a lot of them would like to have their own small business and get involved," said Smith.
The depot at Lancaster Baptist will open again Saturday morning. They intend to continue accepting donations until they’re told that all the household furnishing needs have been met.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.