Syrian refugees turn to food banks as they struggle to cope with high cost of living

May 3, 2016

By Carla Turner, CBC News |

Soseek Asoyan can be found at the Scott Mission in downtown Toronto twice a month, rooting around in bins for bread or bagels, picking up plastic bags filled with cans of lentils and produce.

She’s a Syrian refugee who arrived in Canada in February. Life in her new country has not been easy.

“We are not supported at all. It was difficult,” she said.

Asoyan, her husband and three children are privately sponsored — jointly by the Armenian Community Centre in Toronto and an individual sponsor.

Asoyan said her sponsor warned her before she came to Canada that he could not provide financial support. She would have to pay her own way.

She and her husband collected money from relatives and friends and came to Canada anyway.

“I didn’t have the choice to refuse it,” she said. “Accepting was very difficult, but I had to accept it. It was a chance for me.”

The family of five lived in a hotel when they first got to Canada. Now, they share an apartment.

“When we come here, we didn’t expect we get any kind of help, and, unfortunately, that was the ugly truth,” she said. “So, we are alone, and we struggle still.”

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