Influx of asylum seekers leaves homeless shelter in desperate need of donations

Montreal's Chez Doris homeless shelter for women says they're in urgent need of donations to deal with an influx of asylum seekers from Nigeria. 

Executive Director Marina Boulos-Winton said it's not a position they're used to being in. 

"We've never made a call out, never in the time that I've been here," said Boulos-Winton, who's worked there since 2014. 

The shelter made the call out for donations of clothing and food on their Facebook page this Friday, and by the next day someone came to donate 20 bags of clothing. 

When handing out clothes the shelter lets women take two of whatever items they need, but Boulos-Winton said it's been to keep everyone's needs met.

"Asylum seekers — because they have nothing and they're coming also with families — they will take two bras, two [pairs of underwear], two pants, two t-shirts, two sweaters, two of everything," she said.

The shelter is especially looking for underwear, shorts, shoes, deodorant and bathing suits for women. They also need perishable food so they can continue serving 130 meals per day.  As of lately, some have had to be turned away.

"We've had to limit the number of food bags, some people end up being left out because the demand is too high," she said. 

Donations can be dropped off at the shelter, located at 1430 Chomedey St., in the west-central part of downtown Montreal. The shelter said donations of winter clothing should be put on hold until the fall, since storage space is limited.