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Helping Newcomer Families Feel Welcome

How Amna uses her passion for community at the Mission’s Good Food Centre

Amna came to Hamilton with her family seven years ago fleeing violence in Libya. Now she volunteers at Mission Services’ Good Food Centre helping other families who are new to Canada find services and connect with their community. 


“I was born in the UK and moved with my family to Libya when I was five.We came to Hamilton to escape violence in our country, and it was difficult because we felt very lonely at first. For the first few months, I was very quiet. But volunteering has really changed me. I wasn’t nearly as outspoken before and I didn’t realize how many challenges people face in my community.


I started volunteering at the elementary school next door to Mission Services’ Good Food Centre, Cathy Wever Elementary. I helped students from Syria with their homework and reading and English; and I’ve become very close with some of them. I’ve seen them grow and make friends. They look and feel so much more confident in themselves now.


Amna helps to keep the Good Food Centre organized and assists families coming to find support for emergency food.

Last fall, I came to Mission Services’ Good Food Centre to welcome more Syrian families and help them access food and other community services. Many are struggling right now to find employment. I’ve met lawyers and doctors, but I’ve also met people who owned their own bakery or store back home. It’s hard for them to find decent employment to sustain themselves and their families.


Volunteering as been a huge influence on me. My education is in accounting, but I really enjoy working in the community. I’ve since volunteered overseas, fundraising for refugees and youth fighting cancer. I like setting goals and seeing the big picture and want to do more work like this.


Hearing the stories of refugee families who come to the Good Food Centre can be difficult. However, I believe that everything happens for a reason and the relationships that I have a chance to create with families are very meaningful.”