TORONTO — A group of Afghan refugees in the Toronto area got their first taste of Canadian holiday shopping thanks to the generosity of donors.

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At a Walmart location in Mississauga, Ont., 100 refugees from Afghanistan were given $400 gift cards. This was an opportunity for these newcomers to stock up on essentials, as they have only been in Canada for a few months.

The initiative was made possible thanks to Hamid Hakimi of Elite Developments, who pledged $200,000 to the Afghan Women’s Organization in Toronto as well as helping Afghan refugees through such shopping events.

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“Today has been a really touching day for us,” Hakimi told Granthshala News.

For Hakimi, who fled Afghanistan with her parents when she was five, it was a chance for her to give back.

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“We have also come here as immigrants and refugees, many, many years ago,” he said. “We know the difficulties and challenges that each of them faced, including ourselves, and only knowing that we can give back to those who are in the same situation we were in, that’s great. Seems like.”

For Hamid Ullah Noori, who came to Canada a month ago, a Walmart gift card allowed him to buy pillows, a mattress, furniture and kitchen equipment.

“It’s really important to us. When we came to Canada, we didn’t have anything. We really need basic necessities,” he said.

Kids turned right to the toys, with donors providing extra cash for some fun items. Others headed down the clothing aisles to prepare for their first Canadian winter. Jameel Alkozai, who worked in public affairs and communications at the Canadian embassy in Kabul, had to give up all his wealth when he fled.

“Everything is weird here, even the atmosphere. The weather is changing, minute by minute,” he told Granthshala News.

It is a welcome support for families who have left a life behind. Hamid Sultani spent 10 years working as a security guard, driver and interpreter with the Canadian Embassy in Kabul, before he and his family fled to Canada in August.

“Two days before the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, we came to Canada. I am very happy, and I am very happy for the Canadian people,” he told Granthshala News.