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Thanks to our network of supporters, volunteers and friends, homeless working families in our sheltering program have a brighter, neater space in which to begin the work and school day and to gather at its end. We are pleased to announce that we recently won a competition to receive a makeover valued at $8,500 of our Family Center by IKEA’s Paramus store.

By winning the IKEA Life Improvement Challenge, the Ridgewood-based non-profit was able to dramatically upgrade the space where as many as four families (and up to 14 parents or children) spend time when not working, going to school or spending the night at area houses of worship through Family Promise’s sheltering program.

The Family Center, located in the Ridgewood United Methodist Church complex at 100 Dayton St., is also used by the families on weekends and if a child is home sick from school or if a parent is temporarily out of work.

“IKEA wants to play a part in creating a better life for the many people and communities touched by IKEA businesses,’’ the retailer of furniture, appliances and home furnishings said in a statement. “While IKEA works on a global level to improve the lives of people in developing countries, IKEA also wants to be a good neighbor in its local communities. The IKEA Life Improvement Challenge is one way to make a difference closer to home.’’

Each year, IKEA accepts proposals for candidates for a makeover. A steering committee at each local store selects up to three organizations on which IKEA employees and customers vote online. The charitable organization with the highest number of votes wins. The second and third place winners receive $1,000 and $500 in IKEA products, respectively.

IKEA U.S. started the contest in 2011. Since then, over 200 local charities have received over $1 million in IKEA products, design expertise, and manpower.

Family Promise’s Family Center received comfortable, stylish new couches, chairs and tables; new storage for the families to store their possessions; sturdy, easily reachable shelves and cabinets for books, games and toys; a “reading nook” for kids and adults; re-vamped computer area and laundry area; and a brand new, sparkling refrigerator.

Kate Duggan, executive director of Family Promise, said that by improving the physical space “the makeover helps make our families feel welcome and comfortable and valued. Families will have safe and ample storage for their personal belongings, which will provide a sense of security.’’

Everyone will benefit, she said: “Children have a bright, clean and kid-friendly space in which to play, do homework, read and relax. Parents will have a space where they feel at ease, which will empower them to focus on the steps they need to take to help their family become self-sufficient.’’