IKEA Centennial donated nearly $60,000 of products in comfort kits for families forced out of their homes during the Black Forest fire in June. In all, 800 kits were created, 500 for adults and 300 for children.
“There really wasn’t a question of if we’d do something to help our neighbors, it was a question of what we’d do,” said Marketing, PR and Community Outreach Manager Annie Boeckman.
IKEA Centennial coworkers brainstormed product ideas to include in the kits. Each bag contained basic necessities focusing on eating, sleeping and hygiene.
“The products chosen for the bags were a team effort. Our coworkers put themselves in the mindset of an evacuee and thought about what they’d need if they had to up and leave at a moment’s notice,” stated Boeckman.
Ultimately, each IKEA bag contained a pillow, blanket, towel, water bottle, eating and writing utensils. The child kits also contained markers, paper and a soft toy to keep them entertained during a stressful situation.
IKEA Centennial realized firsthand results of their efforts in an e-mail from an IKEA visitor on July 2, “I want to thank you for the kind packages you sent to the Red Cross to help those in the Black Forest fire! My sister lost everything, but had toys for her grandkids to play with because of your kindness.”
The store set up an assembly line on its receiving dock and had coworkers assemble the bags.
The New Jersey IKEA transport team, in charge of setting up trucks for product delivery to and from IKEA distribution centers, contracted a trailer to transport the bags to Colorado Springs. The kits were delivered to the American Red Cross Disaster Assistance Center on June 21 and distributed by Red Cross volunteers the following week.