March 18, 2017 4:20 pm
Updated: March 20, 2017 9:18 am

Chinese asylum seeker thanks Winnipeg’s Salvation Army for keeping doors open as it reaches capacity


WINNIPEG — Salvation Army is reaching out to the public and all forms of government to step in and help them as they house many of the asylum seekers crossing from the US in to Emerson, Manitoba.

When the number of asylum seekers started to flood in to Manitoba, Salvation Army stepped up and opened its doors to house as many as of them as possible.

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They said they thought 30 beds would be good to help. But, Major Rob Kerr with Salvation Army said those 30 beds quickly filled up and they started to spread people throughout the facility in order to continue helping.

“As of last week, we have served over 120 of the asylum seekers that have crossed over,” Kerr said.

That number of 120 asylum seekers is equivalent to about 60% of all of the asylum seekers that have crossed in to Manitoba from the US on foot in 2017 so far.

RELATED: More asylum seekers make the trek from the US in to Manitoba Saturday morning

This is help that Kerr said Salvation Army would like to keep providing, but he said he can’t imagine how the charitable organization will sustain itself and be able to continue the support if they aren’t given any help soon.

“Our costs now, we realized, we’re hitting $100,000 in what we’ve provided in services to this,” Kerr said.

Kerr said he’s asking the federal and provincial government to think about Salvation Army when they release their budgets soon and remember the unique situation that Winnipeg has been experiencing this year with asylum seekers.

One of those asylum seekers is 21-year-old Yongqi Zhang. He started his journey from China to Austin, Texas when he was 15-years-old to seek asylum there.

RELATED: ‘This is the only way to be safe’: Former refugees react to influx of asylum seekers in Emerson, Manitoba

He said after President Donald Trump took office he knew it was time to leave and make his way to Canada and more specifically, to Manitoba.

“I can’t go back to China. There’s not look like very bright future in US, so Canada automatically become my choice so I came across,” Zhang said.

Zhang became emotional as he explained how thankful he is that while Salvation Army is struggling, they’ve still opened up their doors to him and welcomed him since he arrived on February 25th.

“I feel like they’re treating me like family really. They’re always there for you, they will never shut the door on you,” Zhang said.

Kerr said, to continue helping people like Zhang, needing shelter, food and clothing after they come with nothing but the clothes on their backs, he is putting a plea out to Winnipeggers to help in any way that they can by going to their website.

Salvation Army has set up its website to help refugees.

Salvation Army

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