Edmonton Mennonite Heart For Newcomers Determined for New Donation Heart House

Edmonton Mennonite Center for Newcomers (EMCN) is seeking a low-cost or no-cost space for a new coordinated donation center that could serve all those in need of emergency household, clothing, furniture and supplies. It also requires additional funding to continue to operate. As Edmonton becomes a hub city for refugees from Ukraine and many other areas of the world, and backlogged immigrants arrive in high numbers in Edmonton, EMCN can no longer meet all the item needs of incoming refugees and immigrants without more financial support.

“Our city needs a permanent home for donations intended for refugees, victims of emergencies, and others needing to make a fresh start. The Refugee Donation Center in EMCN’s language classes building is just a bootstrap operation until a more permanent solution is established,” said Megan Klein, EMCN Executive Director.

The Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society (EERSS) had been operating out of a Government of Alberta building downtown since the mid-1980’s. Significant upgrades to the building became necessary for EERSS to maintain operations and the society was forced to vacate and find a new location. As a result, EERSS closed its doors, and Edmonton lost its only donation center serving those in need of emergency household, clothing and goods.

“Refugees need all basic household items like bedsheets, blankets, towels, pots, dishware, diapers, tampons, toothpaste, schoolbags, children’s books and toys, etc,” said Klein. “Arrivals of newcomers fleeing the crisis in Ukraine are not even provided a standard refugee allowance as they are not designated as refugees when arriving under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program. Without access to unrestricted supports like EMCN’s donation center for refugees, many vulnerable families will simply go without basic necessities.”

Klein says a New Start Essentials Market would integrate wraparound services like food, employment, housing, and family supports with a donation center, serving those impacted by fire, flood and other emergencies, new Albertans (refugees and newcomers), teen parents, and unhoused Albertans.

Space for the New Start Essentials Market would ideally be on Edmonton’s north-east side and closely attached to C5’s existing food market and employment hub to serve dual purposes of providing life and household essentials and connecting people to life skill and employment skill building operations.

The Social Impact Academy is currently completing a feasibility study to operate the donation center with a thrift store extension and employment training center to offer multiple revenue streams to support ongoing operations.

EMCN needs to find a new permanent home for the donation center by September 2022 when teachers and students will once again return to fill the building for on-site English classes and childcare.

For more on donating and supporting refugees, see www.emcn.ab.ca/donate.

To volunteer or donate goods to the Refugee Donation Center, call 780-423-9524.

Comments are closed.