On February 11, I put a call out on our World-Changing Kids’ Facebook page asking the amazing families in our neighbourhood for donations of kitchen supplies for Syrian refugee families. In two days, we were able to collect the items in the below photo.

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We then donated these items to a fantastic organization in Ottawa called Resettlement and Family Services – Samaritans and Ansar (RFSSA), which is doing great work towards welcoming refugees into our communities. This amazing group sets each new family up with the following:

1. Kitchen Starter Package, which includes: a dinner set, glasses, cups, cutlery, knives, a serving bowl, serving spoons, pot, pan, microwave or toaster oven or toaster, coffee machine or kettle, etc.

2. Grocery Package, which includes: rice, oil, salt, sugar, teabags, pasta, chickpeas, lentils, milk, eggs, and meat (when possible).

3. Other items, including: shower curtain, comforter(s), light bulbs, garbage bags, painter’s tape (for curtains), mop, pail, roll of kitchen paper, can opener, etc.

RFSSA also gives the new families comforters and a hot meal on their moving day.

In addition, every few weeks the RFSSA holds a Community Welcome Reception for new refugee families at a local Mosque. I first went to a Community Welcome Reception on January 30, when I joined the two wonderful girls in our community, Maya and Clara, who have been collecting stuffed animals to give to each Syrian child. At this event, I also ran a craft table for the kids. We made tissue paper flowers and kindness cards. You can read about that beautiful day on our World-Changing Kids website at: http://worldchangingkids.ca/archives/3690

I was then lucky enough to be asked to come back to do more crafts with the kids and hand out more stuffed animals at the Community Welcome Reception that took place on February 13. This time I brought my two children to help out. We set up a craft table with colouring pages, markers, crayons, construction paper and stamps. Since it was the day before Valentine’s Day, we cut out lots of hearts for the kids to decorate.

Here are some photos from our craft table …

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After some amazing, creative arts and crafting, my children got to hand out the stuffies collected by Clara and Maya …

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After this, when the children noticed that I had a camera, they slowly, one by one became brave enough to ask me to take their photos. There was one little girl in particular who wanted me to take a photo of just her and then photos of her with everyone in the room!

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Here are some other beautiful children who wanted their picture taken …

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While all of the children were wonderful and beautiful, I did make one special friend that day … he also wanted me to take a lot of pictures of him. And when he left, his mom took a photo of me with her phone because she said that her son really liked me. I gave her my card so that she would have my email address – well actually, I gave the little boy my card and he refused to give it to his mom. He would not let go of it. So I gave a second card to his mom and let him keep that one. I do hope to be able to see him again one day. Here are two beautiful photos of him with his family (and he is in the image at the top too!).

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And one last story … my daughter had brought one of her favourite sweaters that she had gotten too big for. She wanted to give this sweater to one of the girls at the Mosque. She chose to give it to this little girl with the beautiful drawings on her face.

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I wanted to tell you the story of how she got these drawings … She was at our craft table, using the strawberry scented marker. She must have been sniffing it very close to her nose, because she ended up getting marker on the tip of her nose. I wanted to explain to her dad that this was marker, because when I first saw it I thought it was blood. So I showed the marker to her dad and tried to show him that it was scented and explain that this is how she got it on her nose. He took the marker and added to the red dot on her nose – he also gave her whiskers. Then he drew a maple leaf on her cheek and said that he was so happy to be in Canada. This dad was so full of joy, so happy, and obviously so relieved to be in Ottawa. You couldn’t help but feel happy when you were near him.

For more information on the Resettlement and Family Services – Samaritans and Ansar, you can check out and “like” their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/RFSSA9/?fref=ts. If you’d like to donate household goods, groceries, or funds to them, please contact tjbaig2000@yahoo.ca.

And for more great acts of kindness ideas, check out our book, “Plant a Garden of Kindness, A Child’s Guide to Filling a Year with Weekly Acts of Kindness”. It consists of 75 acts of kindness that kids can do in their neighbourhood to make it a friendlier place. You can buy it on our website – just click on the “Buy our Book” tab in the upper right hand corner.