The annual Vancouver Street Store will bring Christmas cheer to the Downtown Eastside for another year, thanks to the work of more than 350 volunteers and 50,000 donations.
The free pop-up clothing store will open on December 12 at 58 West Hastings Street from 10 am to 4 pm. The store operates exactly like traditional shops, with departments set up in tents and volunteers acting as sales assistants. The one key difference — everything will be completely free.
The Street Store has been an annual tradition since 2014, spreading holiday cheer to 5,600 residents. In addition to clothing and toiletries, the event also offers free food and drink as well as haircuts.
Event organizers say that this year, the event will be held with health and safety regulations in place. There will be no more than 50 people at the outdoor venue at one time, and other measures such as sanitization stations, clean donations, temperature checks, lineup leaders, and PPE will be in effect.
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Employ to Empower (ETE), hosts of the Vancouver Street Store, is also asking for volunteers and donations to help cover PPE, venue, security, and operation costs, as well as ETE programming.
Another way to get involved is to become a Donation Champion.
“This year, the community has expressed a need for warm winter jackets, men’s and women’s clothing (specifically pants), backpacks, blankets, closed-toe shoes, bags, jewelry, and toiletries in good condition,” says ETE.
Donors can drop off new and gently used items on November 28 and December 5 and 10 from 10 am to 4 pm at the Coastal Church Commercial. Donors will also be able to safely stay in their cars and wait for volunteers to help remove items.
“At the Street Store, we offer a hand up rather than a handout,” says Christina Wong, Executive Director of Employ To Empower.
“We want to provide a dignified holiday shopping experience where residents can pick what they want and need at no cost. With all the additional challenges that many are facing in the DTES, we know that this is an even more important year for us to hold this event for the community, and we’re grateful for all the support we’ve seen so far.”
When: December 12, 2020
Time: 10 am till 4 pm
Where: 58 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
Daily Hive is a proud community partner of the Vancouver Street Store and Employ to Empower