Ten Thousand Villages Store is organizing various means of reaching out and helping with the Syrian refugee crisis. “MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) is taking donations of items for the refugees,” said Tina Bale, manager of the Red Deer store. “We’ve decided that we would be a drop-off place just to make it a little bit easier for people. That way, they don’t have to go to Edmonton or Calgary to drop items off,” she said.
“We were actually approached by a running group in Red Deer. They called us to say they had all of these donations and wondered if it was possible to bring them to our store. They knew were were affiliated with MCC.
“I thought, what a great opportunity. I called MCC and they said that would be great because they have people coming and going from Edmonton to Calgary all of the time,” she said. Those interested in helping out are encouraged to put together relief kits containing new items such as four large bars of soap, one plastic bottle of shampoo, four large bars of laundry soap, four adult-sized toothbrushes, four new bath towels, two wide-tooth combs, one fingernail clipper, a box of adhesive bandages and one package of sanitary pads as some examples. Hygiene kits can include such things as one adult-size toothbrush, one large bar of bath soap, one fingernail clipper and one hand towel.
Other examples of helpful items include infant care kits which might include two gowns/sleepers, two undershirts, four cloth diapers, one receiving blanket, four safety pins and one large bar of mild soap, one pair of socks and one cap.
For more ideas about what to includes in the various kinds of kits, folks are encouraged to check out www.mcccanada.ca/get-involved/kits and bring them down to Ten Thousand Villages in Red Deer.
MCC is a global, non-profit organization that strives to share God’s love and compassion through relief, development and peace-building. “In all our programs we are committed to relationships with our local partners and churches — their needs guide our priorities,” reads the web site. “When responding to disasters we work with local groups to distribute resources to minimize conflict. In our development work we consult with communities to make sure the projects meet their needs. And we advocate for policies that will lead to a more peaceful world. We hope you will be part of our work of relief, development and peace in the name of Christ.”
Ultimately, MCC is inviting people to respond in one of four ways – to give (to their ongoing humanitarian response in the region); to learn how to sponsor a refugee; to advocate and to pray for those affected by the crisis.
Also, for every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians to Syrian relief efforts through to Dec. 31st, the government will place a matching amount in its Syria Emergency Relief Fund. MCC is able to apply for access to those funds.
Bale noted that MCC is involved in several of the affected nations – in Syria, Iraq and surrounding countries, the organization has 27 ongoing projects that deliver emergency relief. And even though the refugee crisis isn’t getting quite the same amount of coverage it once was, the urgency in terms of need hasn’t faded.
“It’s still a crisis, and it’s still going on,” she said.
“We are in such a privileged country and we might not understand exactly what they are going through, but we can sympathize and empathize because we’ve all felt displaced at some point in our lives. If we can just connect with that, and understand that these are families, these are children, mothers and fathers. We need to do what we can to bring hope.
“I think that is one of the biggest things that Ten Thousand Village does – providing hope to people that don’t have any.” firstname.lastname@example.org