Do you have clothes, accessories, or blankets that you don't use anymore?
Organizers of an annual holiday street store in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside are hoping that people will come through with donations.
Vancouver Street Store is a free outdoor pop-up store facilitated by Employ to Empower, held each December for residents in the Downtown Eastside.
The Street Store is set up like traditional shops, with departments set up in different tents and volunteers acting as sales assistants. The goal of the Street Store is to provide a dignified holiday shopping experience where residents can choose what they want and need at no cost.
"Fundraising throughout the annual Street Store also helps us continue supporting DTES residents year-round through our programming at Employ to Empower," said organizer Christina Wong in a press release. "Since 2014, the Street Store has made an impact in the community by working with 353 volunteers, sharing 46,550 donations and spreading holiday cheer to 5,667 residents."
"This year, we are keen to host our 7th annual Street Store during this challenging time with your support."
Here is what the street store team has what the team has been planning to keep health and safety a top priority, while also creating an experience built on dignity, compassion and connection.
Storage Space and Donation Sorting1) Isolate items for at least 72 hours before allowing volunteers to sort them.
2) All volunteers to wash hands and wear PPE (gloves and mask) before handling any donation (for both their safety and VSS guests).
3) Volunteer breaks (eating and drinking) should be taken in a separate area if possible, and following social distancing measures, to ensure volunteer safety.
Here are four ways to get involved
Become a Donation Champion
Employ to Empower needs volunteers to rally Vancouver to donate their clothing, shoes and *especially* winter items for this year’s Street Store. Their team is working hard to develop COVID-19 protocols for volunteers. Find out more, here.
Become a Fundraising Champion
Help fundraise with your circle of change-makers. Get a group of friends, colleagues or peers together to help Employ to Empower reach their goal of raising $30,000 to continue supporting entrepreneurs in the DTES. Find out more, here.
Donate clothing or funds.
Let the organization know if you have any of the needed items to donate. They will connect you with a Donation Champion near you, or you can find out how to drop off your donations yourself. Contact the organization directly to learn how you can donate goods. Or, you can donate funds online here.
Volunteer on Dec. 12
Street Store is happening on Dec.12. Street Store couldn’t happen without its ground zero volunteers. Find out more, here.