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RCMP officers and staff hope to warmly welcome new arrivals to Afghanistan after collecting donations during the holiday season in Edmonton and Calgary.

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As Alberta expects large numbers of Afghan families to arrive in the coming months, Cpl. Mohamad Khaled organized a fundraiser for the Edmonton Mennonite Center for Newcomers (EMCN) and the Women In Need Society (WINS) of Calgary. Warm winter clothes and shoes, baby items, school supplies and toys, housewares and gift cards were collected during the month-long donation campaign.

“We wanted to express our support for the newcomers in a meaningful way,” Khaled said Thursday at K-Division headquarters in Edmonton.

For Khaled, helping these new Canadians is personal.

He was a newcomer himself – Khaled came to Canada from Lebanon as a young boy in 1986.

Khaled said he was lucky to have a good support system when he arrived, but he knows that’s not the case for everyone.

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“We can understand and understand some of the challenges families might face in the settlement process,” he said.

The donation campaign also aligns with the goals of the RCMP’s new Community Engagement Unit (CEU), according to Khaled, which is to build positive connections and relationships with newcomers.

“These are members of the community that we are going to serve, so it is extremely important to establish this relationship at an early stage,” he said.

“Newcomers in all communities have their own perceptions of law enforcement… so for us to have the opportunity to have our say, in a positive way, is extremely positive for us… and us. hope the items go a long way for families. “

EMCN called for donations household items for refugees in October. Financial donations can also be made online. WINS collects donations of goods and money in Calgary.

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Sgt. Ron Bumbry, who heads CEU, is proud of what they have been able to collect. He said officers heard that some recent arrivals were having difficulty, and so when Khaled pitched the idea he was on board.

“Some of them came with just the clothes on their backs and we wanted to help them,” he said. “You are coming to a new country and not everything is familiar to you, so any little help or assistance along the way.”

Bumbry also hopes the donations will help make progress with the new Edmontonians.

“You just have to familiarize them with us as an organization and the police here in general, it’s a win-win situation for our organization and for building those community ties that we love to fight for,” he said. he declares.

Bumbry personally donated an Internet clock radio so that a family could listen to radio stations in multiple languages ​​and a DVD player. Khaled donated tableware and school supplies.

[email protected]

@laurby

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