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Annual Downtown Eastside Street Store event anticipates highest turn out yet

They're calling for additional donations and volunteers to meet demand.

Employ to Empower is back for another year of the DTES Street Store.

The Vancouver registered charity holds a free, outdoor pop-up clothing store at Oppenheimer Park for residents of the Downtown Eastside so that the community can shop for the things they need with dignity.

Last year the Street Store collected 853 bags of clothing, blankets, and winter equipment but they're anticipating an even larger turnout.

Employ to Empower anticipates over 600 visitors to the street store and is asking for more donations to meet the demand. 

“Ahead of this year’s big day, the Street Store is expecting the largest turnout yet as the need for increased connection and basic resources continues,” says executive director Christina Wong in a press release. “We hope that every guest that comes through the Street Store will be wrapped in warmth in their new jacket or items of clothing, and also be filled with warmth and love from the community.”

Employ to Empower says that the community has expressed a need for warm men's and women's clothing especially pants, winter boots, backpacks, blankets, sleeping bags, winter jackets, and cold weather accessories like gloves and scarves.

Toiletries in good condition will also be accepted but summer clothes, children’s clothes, used undergarments, household items and books won't be.

All donations should be new or very gently used and can be dropped off at 41 E Hastings St this Friday (Nov. 25) between 6 and 9 p.m. or Saturday (Nov. 26), 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Donations are also being accepted on December 3 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

There are other opportunities to donate monetarily or volunteer which you can learn more about here.

The Street Store has been held around Christmastime since 2014 and offers free food, beverages, and haircuts in addition to offering guests the opportunity to choose 10 gently used items.

In addition to the street store, Employ to Empower provides microloans, business mentorship, and entrepreneurial resources to residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.