Lourdes Hisola Welcome House Coordinator - Resettlement Assistance Program
The Immigrant Services Society of BC is distributing 150 toys to newcomer families, most who have come to Canada from Syria.
“We have a number of Syrian refugees that have been arriving. We’ve had over 2,000 since last November. It’s their first time celebrating Christmas in Canada. Hopefully by the end of today we’ll have all of the toys distributed to these families throughout Metro Vancouver currently staying at our reception centres in our temporary housing units,” says ISSofBC communications coordinator Chris Stephenson.
Stephenson says the toys were donated at the First Christmas in Canada concert put on by the City of Vancouver in partnership with various community organizations on December 12. Over 400 people attended the concert at the Vancouver Playhouse.
The Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy performed at the concert and the donations were distributed to various sponsoring organizations that help newcomers.
“The types of toys that we have are everything from puzzles to cars, to games. There’s even some Barbie dolls, teddy bears, just a very wide variety of all boxed brand new toys for kids all the way from very young to five-years-old to preteens,” Stephenson says.
Additional sponsors of the concert and toy drive include the Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society, MOSAIC, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., Mount Pleasant Family Centre, SOS, Inland Refugee Society and VAST.