Clothing drive collects items for Syrian refugee families

February 17, 2016   ·   0 Comments

The desire to help Syrian refugees is a feeling that is spreading like wildfire throughout Dufferin County. From sponsorship groups, to fundraisers, to clothing drives, the heart of the area is being made apparent, stifling any negative messages that were being spouted only a few months ago.

Earlier this week, Shelburne Residence, a retirement living and long-term care facility in the heart of Shelburne, announced the completion of a successful clothing drive  held to collect new and gently used clothing for Syrian Refugees.

The residence sent out a press release  which highlighted their gratitude to the community for their support and large number of clothing donations.

“It was an overwhelming success,” said Christine Ozimek, CEO of PLTC, parent company of Shelburne Residence. “It was such a great community effort and so many clothes were collected and dropped off that hundreds of families will benefit from.”

The drive was launched in December, when Shelburne Residence set up a clothing donations drop box for any who were interested in helping out. The clothes were collected throughout the rest of December and the month of January.

“It took two trips and two full van loads each with thousands of pounds of clothing dropped off from all our homes, Shelburne included,” said Richard Sullivan, Manager of Public Relations for PLTC. “Staff from New Circles came out and welcomed us and helped unload each of the bags and wanted to make sure that we send their thanks back to each community.”

Earlier this month, the clothes were picked up from the drop box and taken to Canada’s Immigration drop-off distribution centre, a not-for-profit organization that has declared readiness to #WelcomeRefugees.

According to a description of the ‘campaign’ on their website, New Circles decided to open their doors in response to the humanitarian crisis, welcoming Syrian refugees who arrive in the Toronto area. The company works with Lifeline Syria, as well as other agencies, making the commitment to provide free clothing for refugees for up to two years.

“With so many initiatives taking place across the city, we are in a unique position to provide extended support to help families meet this particular need,” said Alykhan Suleman, Executive Director of New Circles in a press release posted on their website. “We have lots of capacity to sort and distribute clothing, a great team of volunteers and a wide network of clothing donors and agency partners.”

According to their website, New Circles strongly believes that clothing, food and housing are basic necessities — which is what the organization was founded on, aiming to service and provide assistance to residents of  Flemingdon Park, Thorncliffe Park and Victoria Village who needed support.

With their #WelcomeRefugees goal, not only do they intend to help families receive quality clothing, but will help them access social programs, language tutoring and training opportunities, all of which will be offered at no cost by New Circles.

“We also look forward to assisting private groups who are sponsoring families,” added Mr. Suleman. “Rather than trying to individually size and source clothing for each family member, we invite them to refer their families to us so that we can assist them through our service.”

Shelburne Residence was thrilled with the response to their own clothing drive, which will assist New Circles in their goal to provide clothing for two years to refugee families.

“Although this winter turned out much better than past winters, these clothes will still be a welcome addition to each family that receives them,” said PLTC’s Ms. Ozimek. “It was what we intended to do and help and the community pulled through for us. PLTC has always been supporting the communities that our homes are in and with something like this we could not do it alone. It took great community support to make this happen.”

By Tabitha Wells

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