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Fishers Ikea donating beds to local refugee center |

Fishers Ikea donating beds to local refugee center

 


Ikea in Fishers is doing its part to make sure refugees arriving in Indiana have a soft landing.

The Sweden-based furniture giant is donating 51 beds to local resettlement efforts, part of the company’s worldwide drive to assist displaced people.

The 18 full-sized and 33 twin beds are being sent to Exodus Refugees Immigration in Indianapolis, which has helped thousands of refugees find homes over 37 years.

It’s part of a larger Ikea effort to donate 5,000 beds and bedding to refugee families making a new start in cities where the company has stores, said Lesa Grant, loyalty manager at Fishers Ikea. In the United States, the donated beds in 2017 and 2018 are worth $700,000.

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“We are committed to supporting this initiative at the local level,” Grant said. “We think being an active member of our local communities is an important part of how we realize our vision to create a better everyday life for many people.”

Ikea opened last fall on 116th Street near I-69 and had already announced its environmental and humanitarian consciousness by placing 3,999 solar panels on the roof of the store and bringing a  program to reduce child hunger locally.

Exodus leans heavily on private donations for the families it helps but rarely gets large corporate donations, said housing manager Ali Haddad. The most needed items are furniture, cleaning supplies and bathing accessories like soap and shampoo, but the center, 2457 E. Washington St., at also accepts kitchen utensils, bath towels, sheets, bus passes and gift cards to retailers such as Walmart.

Haddad said mattresses are a tricky gift because they are so expensive — and also have to be new.

 “You don’t want to take used mattresses because of the possibility of bed bugs and other unknown things,” Haddad said  “So this is a very generous donation and will help a lot of families.”

Exodus opened in 1987 in response to the Mariel boat lift that sent 125,000 Cuban exiles to the shores of Florida.

The center took in 947 new arrivals in 2016, another 501 in 2017 and 152 so far this year. 

Most of the refugees coming into the United States are from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burma. Until President Donald Trump’s travel ban on six Muslim-dominant countries, Syrians and Somalians were also among the arrivals.

“No one from Syria since May 2017,” said Exodus Executive Director Cole Vargas in an email. “And at that time as well as in (2016), Syrians were our third-largest group.”

Nationwide, the number of refugees admitted to the United States dropped from 85,000 in 2016 to about 50,000 last year.

Call IndyStar reporter John Tuohy at (317) 444-6418. Follow on Twitter and Facebook.

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