Multicultural Family Resource Society

For the last 10 years, the Multicultural Family Resource Society (MFRS) has been supporting newcomer and refugee families in Edmonton.   In 2015, to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable families we serve, MFRS established a fund to help families who are in crisis situations: taking care of a sick child, dealing with caregiver mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress resulting from war and refugee experiences, loss of loved ones, or family violence. Many of us are lucky to have the support of friends and family at a time of need. But many newcomer and refugee families arrive to Canada with no family connections and limited funds, hoping to work hard to support their children. When dealing with poverty, limited income, and crisis situations, many families have to make impossible choices between paying for rent and buying medication for a sick child or spouse or food for the family. The fund is used to provide temporary, one-time relief by helping pay for rent, food, or medication for families in most precarious situations. What we have learned so far is that a helping hand and the smallest act of kindness and support at a time of crisis can make the a huge difference. This can help a family overcome a challenge, feel strong and hopeful for the future or sink deeper into poverty, desperation, and helplessness. Wouldn’t we all want a helping hand if we were facing a similar situation while living in another country, without family support and not knowing how to navigate a new system?

The difference this fund has made for families, such as Jill’s family, is far reaching:

Jill (fake name to protect her identity), a young mother from Nigeria, came to Canada to study at the University of Alberta with the goal of becoming a nurse. She came to Canada with her partner and had two children.  While she was well into her studies, she gave birth to her second child, who was born with some health complications. Jill separated from the father of the children shortly before the birth of their second child, and was left to care for the children on her own. For most of the year, Jill was barely making ends meet with her student loan – putting herself through school as well as caring for her young ones. By summer time because school was not in session, Jill did not have her student loan to depend on and struggled with the bills that were piling up, while taking care of a sick child. The emergency funds helped to pay for a large portion of her rent, which helped to alleviate some of the stress she faced during that time in her life. With the help of the funds, she was able to make it through the summer and return to school in the fall. She has now completed her education in nursing, and is now working to help others – becoming a contributing member of society and giving back to the Edmonton community. 

Unfortunately with the downturn in the economy, we have seen more and more families in crisis and needing this kind of short-term help. Last year we helped 7 families. Our goal for next year is to help 7 more. MFRS needs to raise $5,000 dollars to do that.  
·If 25 people gave 25 dollars each, that would help with rent and prevent a family from becoming homeless.
·If 10 people gave 10 dollars each, that would help buy groceries or medication.

We welcome other types of donations and contributions that support our cause (e.g., volunteer time, social media and website development, sponsoring a family, winter jackets for children).

Together, we can make an impact in our community and in the lives of families!

If you want to support our other programs (youth programs, parent-child programs, general), you can also donate on Canada Helps and click on the fund you wish to support.

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