If those who have lived in Canada their entire lives, you’ve learned to adapt to our winters.  

However, newcomers to Canada that have come from more warmer climates may be experiencing snow and freezing temperatures for the first time. 

The Moose Jaw Newcomer Welcome Centre has several programs in place to help those experiencing a Canadian winter for the first time. 

“We do information sessions, teaching them about winter, winter driving, frostbite and things like that. They kind of get a better perspective of what the dangers of not dressing properly are,” said Moose Jaw Newcomer Welcome Centre program manager Melissa Mitchell. 

The Newcomer Welcome Centre also takes in clothing donations year-round, but during this time of year, they are particularly looking for warm winter clothes like jackets, boots, mitts and toques. 

Mitchell said that the first winter can sometimes be a shock for newcomers as some may bring warm clothes from their home country just to learn that it isn’t enough. 

“Some of them have never, ever experienced snow before, so at first it might be kind of exciting but then they’re like ‘It’s freezing’ even in the fall. We’re finding that some of them will come in looking for winter jackets because it's so cold for them,” Mitchell said. 

Mitchell couldn’t pinpoint why, but she said there seems to be a particular need for winter clothes this year, especially after the first snowfall a few weeks ago. 

“For that first week, I was filling the rack with probably about 30 empty hangars every single day. One day, there were more than 30 hangars gone before 10 a.m.,” Mitchell said. 

You can donate gently used winter clothing by either calling the Moose Jaw Multicultural Council’s main office or the Moose Jaw Newcomer Welcome Centre before dropping any clothes off. 

Along with clothing, the Newcomer Welcome Centre also accepts donations of household items, furniture and small appliances. 

This is just the start of a busy November at the Newcomer Welcome Centre. They are currently having a “Fill the Fridge” bottle drive as they are starting up a food pantry for newcomers. Bottles can be dropped off through SARCAN’s Drop N Go or call to arrange to drop off the bottles at the Newcomer Centre. Gift card donations will be accepted. They are also accepting donations of fresh food, dairy products and canned and dry products. Donors are just asked to call the Newcomer Welcome Centre before dropping anything off. 

Every third Thursday of the month is the Newcome Welcome Centre’s Community Café. Everyone is welcome to attend. It was a chance for newcomers to make connections and network with other members of the community. The next Community Café is tonight at 7 p.m. 

On Friday, there will be a Mental Health Conversation from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Newcomer Welcome Centre. Two nursing practicum students from the University of Regina will be giving a presentation to newcomers about mental health. 

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