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‘I know what these people feel’: Syrian refugees help Fort McMurray wildfire evacuees

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WATCH: Syrian refugees who relied on Canadians are now the ones giving to those in need in Fort McMurray. Jill Croteau has details – May 5, 2016

Syrian refugees who relied on the kindness of strangers as they transitioned to life in Canada are now lending a helping hand to those fleeing Fort McMurray wildfires.

Rita Khanchat and her family spent Thursday stocking hampers to give to evacuees, filling them with personal hygiene products.

Khanchat said she knows how helpful these hampers can be, because she received one when she first arrived in Calgary five months ago.

“I know what these people feel exactly, because we [lost] everything in a second and they lost everything in a second,” Khanchat said. “When we came here, a lot of Canadian people help us a lot, and now I think it’s our turn to say ‘thank you’ to Canadian people.”

Saima Jamal from the Syrian Refugee Support Group said she’s been overwhelmed at the enthusiasm refugees have had when it came to helping Canadians.

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“I’ve never been this proud in my work helping these refugees settle in Canada, as much as I have today,” Saima added.

“I saw at least each Syrian refugee family giving $5 – and to them, even this $5 is a lot.”

99 Hampers of Hope has organized drop-off locations for donations at two south Calgary locations, which will be open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

For more information, visit their Facebook page.

– With files from Melissa Ramsay

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