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Sweaters for Syria

- January 10, 2014

Sweaters of all sizes. (Eddy Chang, used via Flickr under Creative Commons license)
Sweaters of all sizes. (Eddy Chang, used via Flickr under Creative Commons license)

The United Nations launched its largest ever humanitarian appeal last month as winter storms brought heavy snow and freezing temperatures to the Middle East, making living conditions for those fleeing Syria’s civil war for refugee camps much worse. The UN estimates there are almost 2.3 million Syrian refugees around the region, with over 6 million displaced internally in Syria.

In late November, Clement Mehlman, a chaplain at Dalhousie’s Multifaith Centre, helped organize Dal students to collect sweaters for Canada Lutheran World Relief, who would then send them to Syrian refugees in Jordan. A number of Dal students from Syria were involved.

“To collect sweaters was a way for people to put into action a need to help, a way to abate sadness and hopeless at a situation that is on the other side of the world,” said Kimber McNabb, pastor at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Halifax. “It was the right thing to do.”

Dalhousie, together with members from the Church, collected nearly 200 sweaters. Some individuals brought in coats and, while only sweaters were being collected for Syria, eights bags of coats were given to the Dalhousie winter coat drive while six bags were sent to the Salvation Army Thrift Store.

The sweaters were then boxed and taken to a collection centre in Lower Sackville, from which they were delivered by truck to Winnipeg’s Canada Lutheran World Relief depot. Community groups and Lutheran churches from all across Canada participated in the project, collecting 50,000 sweaters.

The sweaters were sent to the Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan, where hundreds of thousands of Syrian people are living, with more arriving daily. According to McNabb, the hope is that “The sweaters will be a piece of comfort for people far from home.”


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