|For Immediate Release: April 22, 2020
Chamber of Commerce urges support for vulnerable newcomers during pandemic
(Moncton) - The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton has highlighted the need to assist vulnerable newcomers to the region who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.
Newly-arrived immigrants are not well-equipped to navigate this crisis and access the goods and services they need, Chamber CEO John Wishart noted.
“As a community, we have opened our arms to these new residents. They are filling our workforce needs and have contributed so much to the multicultural fabric of our region. We have all been affected by COVID-19 but many of our immigrants have been impacted most severely,” Wishart stressed.
The Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area has been identified as the main point of contact in Greater Moncton for newcomers during the pandemic. This arrangement was reached after discussions with the City of Moncton and the United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern New Brunswick.
An emergency response plan was put in place, and policy and procedures determined. Thanks to funding from the United Way, MAGMA was able to deliver more than 180 food boxes to immigrants in need. That United Way funding has now been exhausted.
“We are getting numerous requests daily from international students, people with working visas and permanent residents who are in need,” MAGMA executive-director Myriam Mekni said. “We will have to continue to ensure that this program is funded to be able to help people in need.”
Other needs identified by MAGMA include:
- A small vehicle on loan to help the Emergency Support Program with Anglophone East School District where bagged lunches are delivered to the children of MAGMA clients.
- Used computers that could become part of a lending library to be used by the many newcomers who are now receiving language instruction online.
- Assistance to provide immigrant parents with children’s books and craft/activity materials.
Anyone who can help with a financial contribution or in-kind goods and services is asked to contact Myriam Mekni at (506) 858-9659.