Ikea Canada offers $180,000 in furniture to help refugees feel at home
Emily Chan, CTVNews.ca
Published Saturday, December 12, 2015 1:23PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, December 12, 2015 2:26PM EST
As a second planeload of Syrian refugees arrives in Montreal on Saturday, an Ikea Canada initiative is aiming to help the newcomers feel a little more at home.
Through its Refugee Settlement Support program, Ikea Canada is offering up to $180,000-worth of home furnishings to recently arrived Syrian refugees.
Registered charities can apply for furniture donations through an online application form until the end of March, or until the company maxes out its $180,000 commitment.
In order to be approved, applicants must be supporting a family or household within a one-hour drive from the nearest Ikea unit, and the request must not be for more than $5,000 worth of products.
So far, 22 groups have already contacted the company asking for help, Ikea Canada Sustainability Manager Brendan Seale said on Saturday.
Speaking on CTV's News Channel, Seale said the company will evaluate each application based on need and a first come, first serve basis.
"It could be one organization that's helping 50 families and they just want beds or it could be that there's two or three families in that community that need everything to outfit a home," Seale said. "Our idea is, of course, to help as many people as we possibly can with the resources that we've set aside."
The company is offering furnishings such as beds, cookware and other kitchen necessities, Seale said.
"Anything that's a basic fundamental need within a home will be available through this program," he said.
Stefan Sjöstrand, the president of Ikea Canada, said in a statement earlier this week that the company hopes to provide more than just the basic necessities for refugees as they settle in Canada.
"By offering donations of home furnishings for refugees, we are not only providing the basic necessities for their new life in Canada, but more importantly offering the comforts of home in a time when they need it the most."
The Canadian initiative isn't the first time Ikea has supported refugees.
The company's Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign, which runs until Dec. 19, will donate the equivalent of $1.47 Canadian dollars to the UN Refugee Agency every time somebody buys an Ikea LED product.
Last year, the company says, the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign raised more than $14.6 million around the world.
Ikea is also known for producing compact, easy-to-assemble shelters that can be shipped to and set up in refugee camps around the world.
Immigration Minister John McCallum has previously encouraged Canadian residents, organizations and companies to lend a hand welcoming refugees and helping them begin their new lives in Canada.
Organizations across the country have raised money to privately sponsor refugees, and have collected warm clothing, toys, and other materials for the newcomers.
"I've said many times this is not a government project, this is a national project," McCallum said last week. "I'm hoping that more and more people will do that so the refugees and soon-to-be Canadians will get a super warm Canadian welcome."