The annual Vancouver Street Store will bring Christmas cheer to the Downtown Eastside for another year, thanks to generous donations totalling $15,000 from the public and sponsors.
The free pop-up clothing store opens on Sunday, December 15, at 62 East Hastings Street from 10 am to 4 pm. While the store will operate exactly like traditional shops, with departments set up in different tents and volunteers acting as sales assistants — everything will be completely free.
There will also be volunteer barbers and hairdressers on-site for the more than 1,000 shoppers expected.
Organizers made a plea in November for help with funding; usually, event costs are covered by organizer Christina Wong and event sponsors, but this year, she says costs have risen significantly. More than 60 donors came forward to help the Vancouver Street Store, including an anonymous donor who donated $7,500.
“The Street Store provides a safe space for people to choose what they want and need, instead of being given what people think they need,” said Wong. “It’s like shopping. When we enter a store, we choose what we like.”
Vancouver Street Store was launched in 2014 after Wong was inspired by a senior she met while handing out care packages in the Downtown Eastside. Since its inaugural year, the event has worked with over 200 volunteers to share over 40,000 donations and holiday cheer to more than 5,000 residents.
High priority donations this year include boys and men’s warm outerwear and pants, backpacks, blankets, toiletries, and closed-toe shoes. Donations can be brought directly to the Street Store on opening day.
Fundraising is still open for Wong’s charity Employ To Empower, which provides access to development and entrepreneurial resources for Downtown Eastside residents. The charity already supports three Downtown Eastside entrepreneurs and hopes to help 10 more community members in 2020. The Vancouver Street Store is an initiative of Employ to Empower.
This event could not have happened without generous sponsors: TELUS, SFU Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship, SFU Beedie School of Business, SFU External Relations and Vancity. TELUS will be offering $10 internet for low-income families at the event. Special thanks go to an anonymous donor, who donated $7,500, half the total amount raised, and to the many individuals who donated their own hard-earned money to support the Street Store.
When: Opens on December 15, 2019
Time: 10 am till 4 pm
Where: 62 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
Daily Hive is a proud community partner of the Vancouver Street Store.