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IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign

ikea soft toys

IKEA Donates Thousands of Soft Toys on November 1st to Toys for Tots

This Event Marks the Kick-off of the Annual IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., Oct 31, 2011 -- Thousands of plush, cuddly and adorable soft toys will soon be in the welcoming arms of less fortunate children across America thanks to IKEA and Marine Toys for Tots.

On November 1st, as a kick off for the IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign, each IKEA US store will support the IKEA US Day of Donation and contribute hundreds of IKEA soft toys and children's books to the Toys for Tots program in local IKEA store markets or Toys for Tots locations. This activity will result in thousands of IKEA soft toy donations to Toys for Tots to provide many children across the US with a memorable holiday gift.

The annual IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign begins November 1 and ends December 24. During this time, for every IKEA soft toy a customer purchases -- including finger puppets and books -- the IKEA Foundation will donate one euro (approximately $1.35) to partners UNICEF and Save the Children to help educate underprivileged children in 20 countries. Since the IKEA Soft Toys for Education program began in 2003, it has donated 35.2 million euros ($47.5 Million US) to UNICEF and Save the Children, benefiting more than 8 million children in over 40 countries with the opportunity of having access to a quality education.

IKEA Soft Toys range in price from $.49 - $19.99 and are available in all IKEA stores and some online. This year, the range includes circus animals, vegetables and books, in addition to its regular extensive range of plush soft toys.

"IKEA strongly supports the rights of every child and understands that education is key to their growth and development. Through our Save the Children and UNICEF partnership, the annual IKEA Soft Toy for Education campaign continues to impact millions of children's lives in developing countries with access to a quality education. So far, 8 million children have benefited with school supplies, better teaching facilities and sanitation, as well as trained and dedicated teachers," commented Mike Ward, IKEA US President. "And this year, we are pleased to donate IKEA soft toys to Toys for Tots to help increase their holiday gift give-aways to less fortunate children in the US."

With a strong focus on children in need, the mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program is to also support children during the holiday with a gift that will make them feel special and remembered. The Marine Toys for Tots program collects new, unwrapped toys from October through December each year, and distributes these toys as holiday gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

"Receiving a present at holiday time is an experience every child deserves," said retired Marine Major Bill Grein, vice president of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. "IKEA has certainly done its fair share to help us bring that joy to children whose families have suffered so much. This has been a challenging year, so IKEA's efforts in support of the Marine Toys for Tots programs nationwide are a real blessing."

IKEA and its partners, UNICEF and Save the Children, strongly believe that education is one of the best investments every person can make in a child's life. With an education, children can grow up better prepared and more confident to care for themselves and their families, and take on new challenges to help them grow and prosper. Yet today, millions of children are denied their basic right to an education due to poverty, displacement, disability, discrimination or cultural customs. The Save the Children and UNICEF supported education programs include teacher training, bilingual learning and schools that are child-friendly with improved sanitation and water facilities; all these factors help children stay healthy, stay in school and help them to succeed.

"We are grateful to IKEA for its generous commitment to UNICEF through this year's soft toy campaign," said U.S. Fund for UNICEF President and CEO Caryl Stern. "Funds donated from the campaign will support UNICEF's Schools for Africa initiative, which helps children living in extreme poverty gain access to quality education, paving the way for a brighter future. An overwhelming amount of the 69 million children not enrolled in school globally live in Africa. We are proud to partner with IKEA on this important initiative, and we thank IKEA customers for its ongoing support of the soft toy campaign."

"Save the Children is grateful to IKEA for sharing the spirit of the season with underprivileged schoolchildren around the world through its soft toy campaign," said Save the Children's President & CEO Carolyn Miles. "By adding one of their cuddly little creatures to your holiday list, you can do some gift giving good. Funds raised from the campaign will help enhance the quality of teaching and learning and improve children's potential in many countries where Save the Children works."

The best gift you can give a child is the gift of an education. And educating all our children is a top priority. This holiday season, we hope our customers will pick the present that gives millions of children the joy of education. Plush and cuddly IKEA soft toys are clearly the gift that gives back.

About IKEA

IKEA, the leading home furnishings company, strives to be 'The Life Improvement Store.' Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA offers home furnishings which include good design, function and quality at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 320 IKEA stores in 39 countries, including 38 stores in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainable efforts into its day-to-day business practices and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment.

For more information, go to IKEA-USA.com.

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