INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - More than 20,000 refugees from at least 16 countries call Indianapolis home, and Ikea in Fishers and community groups are showing their support to refugee resource groups.
Ikea employees gathered in the warehouse of Exodus Refugee Immigration on Indianapolis' east side to unload 51 donated beds to the organization. The offering is part of Ikea USA's 5,000 Dreams program to deliver 5,000 Ikea beds to refugee groups across the country.
"It makes us feel that we are not alone as an agency. There are other big agencies who also have a big heart and want to help," said Ali Haddad, housing manager for Exodus.
Haddad said Exodus seeks to take care of refugee families who arrive in Indianapolis and have no resources for finding housing, education or employment.
"I would say we are like the physicians in the delivery room because we welcome to refugees at the airport and we taken them to their new home and we help them to find a job," Haddad said, "and to be self-sufficient and to be a successful individual in society."
To do that, Exodus relies on donations of clothing, food and household goods to help families fill whatever apartment, home or room they can obtain through Exodus.
Ikea manager Lesa Grant said it makes perfect sense that a company focused on making spaces feel like home can step up and help.
"Ikea has a great heart. It's more than just a big blue box sitting on I-69," she said. "Helping refugees is important to Ikea's values, and it's our mission here at Fishers is to connect with our community partners."
Grant said Ikea donated 18 full and 33 twin bed and mattresses, along with sheets, comforter and duvet sets, and pillows. She said that's the number requested by Exodus.
The Fishers Ikea is not the only group reaching out to the refugees in Indianapolis. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is hosting an event called Walk a Mile in a Refugee's Shoes on Saturday in Fishers. Organizers said they want more Hoosiers to understand what a refugee experiences when they arrive in Indiana. Join them for an interactive experience between noon and 4 p.m. at 777 Sunblest Blvd in Fishers.