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West Island mosque gathers donations for Syrian families

DORVAL – This year, Melissa Thibodeau wanted to show her three-year-old daughter, Danika, another side of Christmas.

So she decided to do an advent calendar, with activities instead of chocolate.

“I thought this year it would be fun if we focused it around activities,” said Thibodeau. ” Whether it would be making decorations or doing things like donating things that we don’t use anymore, to children or to families that may need them.”

She explained to her daughter that other kids may need some of her toys more than she did, and Danika agreed.

So the mother of two packed up toys and other household items and drove them to the Dorval Mosque.

READ MORE: How the refugee crisis evolved in 2015

Mehmet Deger is the president of the West Island mosque and has spearheaded the sponsorship of five Syrian families.

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Two have already arrived, but they’re expecting three more in the new year.

“To establish a home is not easy,” said Deger. “They need everything from curtains to kitchen utensils to toys, beds, bed sheets, so on and so forth.”

The mosque has already received tons of clothing and winter accessories, but they still need pots and pans, linens and other household items.

READ MORE: Quebec Health Minister visits refugee health clinic in Montreal

Although many of the items will go to the Syrian families that the mosque is expecting, Deger knows the province is welcoming hundreds more this week and he’s prepared to help.

“A big crowd is going to come to Valcartier, we are making preparations from them also,” he said.

And to prepare, they need help from those like Thibodeau and her daughter.

“It’s the Canadian thing to do isn’t it?” said Thibodeau. “It’s to help people and to recognize that we’re blessed here and we’re not at war.”

“These people have chosen to come here and we should be proud of that.”

Any donations can be dropped off at the Dorval Mosque located at 416 Boulevard Neptune in Dorval.

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