Medicine Hat, AB - Today at the Five Guys Burgers and Fries location in Medicine Hat, 20% of each customers purchase price went to support programming for Saamis Immigration Services.
"We're doing it because we need the money to support the newcomers to Canada programming," explained Community Connections Coordinator with Saamis Immigration, Elizabeth Thomson. "We are government funded, but the funding only goes so far."
The programming offered by Saamis Immigration allows immigrants the chance to feel comfortable when they arrive in Medicine Hat.
"We offer summer camps, women's swimming, men's soccer groups and we also do things like help support kids during their english language learning. There's a whole variety of things we do. We do cooking lessons, we do sewing lessons. There's a lot of things that we run."
Thomson says they have roughly 300 clients accessing this programming every year.
"It's really important for the integration of newcomers to Canada to make them feel connected to the community. To feel at home."
Thomson then made it relatable to some by comparing the feeling to moving to a new city.
"You feel isolated, you don't know what's out there, you don't know how to make friends and then when you add the barrier of not knowing the language, it can really make things difficult."
She then furthered her comments by saying immigration in Medicine Hat is a lot bigger than people may realize.
"A lot of the businesses really rely on immigration to support the staff that they need. Our community is very multi-cultural. You might not see it every day on the streets, but it is very multi-cultural and really at the end of the day, we're all immigrants in some variety. A couple ancestors ago maybe, but Medicine Hat would not have been built without immigration."
And Thomson says the feedback from clients after accessing this programming has been positive.
"They were so thankful, so grateful for the programming. A lot of them said they wouldn't have felt as settled into Medicine Hat if it wasn't for Saamis Immigration. They'd probably feel quite lost. I think all of us would if we didn't have anyone to support us when we were going somewhere new."
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