The annual Vancouver Street Store will bring Christmas cheer to the Downtown Eastside for another year, thanks to the work of hundreds of volunteers and tens of thousands of donations.
For the first time in its eight-year history, the free outdoor pop-up clothing store on December 11 will be held at Oppenheimer Park for the first time. An Employ to Empower (ETE) initiative, the store operates exactly like a traditional shop, with departments set up in tents and volunteers acting as sales assistants. The one key difference is that everything will be completely free.
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“Street Store is what we consider a reverse gala – our take on an event that raises awareness, addresses a need, and brings people together, but instead of dressing up ourselves, we dress the community,” said Christina Wong, executive director of ETE in a release. “We expect it to be the largest Street Store yet, providing a dignified holiday shopping experience where residents can pick what they want and need, at no cost. Last year we were limited by capacity, but this year we have a new location and less restrictions.”
The Street Store for people experiencing homelessness has worked with nearly 500 volunteers, shared over 66,000 donations, and spread holiday cheer to more than 6,300 residents since 2014. In addition to clothing and toiletries, the BC Housing-presented event also offers free food and drink, as well as haircuts.
Event organizers say that this year, Vancouver Street Store 8.0 will be held with COVID-19 health and safety regulations in place. There will be screening questions, mandatory masks, sanitation stations, clean donations, physical distancing, and PPE at the event.
ETE is asking for volunteers to support Vancouver Street Store. On event day, volunteers can choose from four different time shifts, with those interested asked to register online.
The registered charity is also seeking donations and sponsors to help cover event equipment, venue, operation costs, and ETE programming.
When: December 11, 2021
Time: 10 am till 4 pm
Where: Oppenheimer Park – 400 Powell Street, Vancouver
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