A group of volunteers from Gretna has stepped up to help asylum seekers that are illegally crossing into Canada.

A vacant Manitoba housing unit in Gretna will be used temporarily as a reception centre to house migrants after they are processed at the Canadian port of entry in Emerson. The vacant building will serve as a shelter for up to five days while more room is made for the migrants in Winnipeg, where they will wait for their refugee applications to be processed.

Volunteer group spokesperson Robin Neustater said she and others from the community wanted to help make the asylum seekers comfortable while they are in Gretna.

"We have been exploring ways that people in the community and surrounding area can help, and discussing what types of things may be needed because we do not know what they are bringing with them."

Neustater added the list is growing, but right now the group is putting together hygiene kits and collecting recreational items like games and soccer balls to keep the refugees busy while they wait to be moved to Winnipeg.

"I am getting calls daily from people that want to know how they can help too. I have been blown away and brought to tears over the generosity from people in this area. I am doing this because my ancestors immigrated to Canada for a better life and I think this is a good way for me to give back. I think it's an important opportunity for Gretna to shine and show some of the core values and beliefs we have in caring for humanity. This is in our community and we want to be a part of helping these people," explained Neustater.

Neustater said things like towels, wash cloths, deodorant, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, laundry soap, women's hygiene products, and recreational items such as games and outdoor toys like a soccer ball are just a few of the things they are looking for right now. If you are looking to donate or help you can contact Robin Neustater at 204-327-6438.

Up to sixty asylum seekers can be housed in the vacant facility and will be provided meals until they are transported to Winnipeg. Manitoba Inter-Faith Immigration Council, also known as Welcome House, will be responsible for finding the migrants space to reside in Winnipeg and for transportation from Gretna to Winnipeg.


This bedroom will soon be set up for asylum seekers seeking refuge

The home's rec room area