In honor of World Refugee Day, a new project has begun in St. John. “Welcome to the Neighborhood” was started during this challenging year in St. John, with “Snowmageddon” and the pandemic, which brought a lot of isolation, according to Megan Morris who is with the Association for New Canada (ANC). In the ANC’s ESL training center are 100 food baskets filled with a gift card for a grocery store, dry goods, and a drawing by a young artist with a message of hope. Volunteers assembled and distributed the hampers which are being sent to privately sponsored and government-assisted refugees. Culturally appropriate foods that are not always available for families are included in the baskets.
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Morris said, “There are language barriers, there’s social isolation. There are so many barriers that make it difficult to integrate into your new community.” A Grade 9 student named Estera, an immigrant who relocated from Tanzania five years ago, drew a picture for each basket.
The drawing is of a mother and child in two different scenes; one a refugee camp and one with the duo in a park enjoying life. The back of the drawing has a message in five different languages: “While you may have arrived at St. John’s as a refugee in the past year, you are now our friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Please accept this gift from the ANC and the Community Food Centers of Canada as a welcome to the neighborhood.” If you are considering relocating to Canada, contact Canadian Visa Professionals for help with the immigration process.