Settlement Services thanks community for donations for newcomers

"Welcome bags" donated by St. Albans (Submitted photo)

Bailey Sutherland, Daily Herald

Thanks to local supporters, close to a dozen newcomer families that have recently arrived in Prince Albert will not have to worry about household items.

The YWCA Settlement Services received a large donation from St. Albans Cathedral of 15 to 20 “welcome bags” that included items such as cleaning supplies, toiletries, clothes, towels, and toiletries. Reverend David Butorac and his congregation also purchased three tables worth of tickets to the World Refugee Fashion Fundraiser on June 20th of this year.

David Hambleton, community coordinator for the YWCA Settlement Services, says the welcome bags are helpful to refugees because they are quite overwhelmed when they arrive. “[The bags] get them easily settled into their home without having to go through a bunch of different procedures that are unfamiliar”.

The YWCA Settlement Services is a branch of the greater YWCA that works exclusively with refugee families. Hambleton says they help newcomers every step of the way. “We deal directly with refugees from the point of them landing at the airport in Saskatoon, to getting them housed, getting them identification, documents, family doctors, every step of the way; every aspect of settlement.”

Around 130 refugees – the majority of them children – have arrived or are arriving in Prince Albert between May and September. They are seeking refuge from a number of countries, Malawi, Ethiopia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Kenya to name a few.

Two different families that received welcome bags are the Abdikadir family, originally from Somolia, but sought refuge in Kenya, as well as the Nyany family, originally from South Sudan, but sought refuge in Malaysia.

Others looking to donate to families new to Canada can contact David Hambleton through his email davidhambleton.ywca@sasktel.net or phone number 306-953-6446.

According to Hambleton, the YWCA Settlement Services are currently accepting donations for school supplies, children’s toys, and household furniture such as end tables and lamps. They recently received a large donation of clothing from the city and are set in that regard.

Hambleton says, “We wanted to say thank you to St. Albans, but we’re not looking to just single out one because we have had a fantastic response from the entire community. We are really grateful and thankful to have had such support”.