More than 100 newcomer families in Surrey registered for a winter clothing campaign with DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society.
That’s about 237 adults and 261 kids, says DIVERSEcity’s “Bundle Up” campaign co-ordinator Rana Alahmad. But that number, she said, changes every year.
DIVERSEcity’s Bundle Up campaign is an annual donation drive for refugees and higher-need clients to prepare them for the fast-approaching cold, winter months.
On Friday, DIVERSEcity had its distribution day for the campaign at City Centre Library.
Alahmad, who is also DIVERSEcity’s Refugee and Immigrant Specialized Experience program co-ordinator, said many refugees and newcomers to Canada come from warmer countries and aren’t prepared for the cold winter weather.
“They also have many kids sometimes and can’t afford to get appropriate winter clothing. As DIVERSEcity is devoted to helping newcomers, part of this devotion is to help those who are in need. It’s one of DIVERSEcity’s ways to give back to the community and help newly arrived refugee and immigrant families stay warm,” Alahmad said.
DIVERSEcity, Alahmad said, starts collecting donations from staff, volunteers and the community in September and October, with donations being collected up until the day before distribution.
“Our clients can come and choose whatever they want from the collection that we have,” Alahmad said.
Sadia, an Eritrean refugee and mother of five, was one of the clients from last year’s campaign, according to a release from DIVERSEcity.
“I’m a single mom and I have five children. We lived in Sudan before coming to Canada, and it was hot there, so we didn’t have any winter clothes. I really appreciated it,” said Sadia.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data reveals that of the 164,255 refugees that Canada has received since 2015, more than 18,000 of them have been resettled in the province of British Columbia. Between 2011 and 2016, Surrey received 36,335 recent immigrants, while its net increase in immigrant population grew by 32,310, the highest of any municipality in BC,” according to a report by NewtoBC.
Of that, refugees make up 11 per cent of Surrey’s total immigrant population and 10.2 per cent of its recent immigrant population.