(BRONX, NY) — The holidays can be a tough time of year for those struggling in poverty and/or homelessness. For people with children, it can be especially hard explaining why there won’t be any gifts this year. Sure, there are a lot of charity organizations and programs available to support the less fortunate, but many times people in need resent the help due to shame and pride. In an effort to bring dignity to those down on their luck as well as relieve them of the burden of financial hardship, two NYC writers Kadia Blagrove and Kydee Williams created a new way of giving with The Pop-Up Care Shop, a shop of donated goods for people in need to enjoy. Partnering with different non-profit organizations, the team collects donated goods and “set-up shop” to create a fun shopping experience for those truly in need. Items are nicely displayed in retail-fashion and shoppers get to thoughtfully pick out what they want.
On December 10, Blagrove and Williams hosted their first Pop-Up Care Shop at the Tolentine Zieser Community Center for the homeless women and children of Bronx shelter SAMMON Build. The main goal was to redeem these women with the power of choice. Many of them are victims of domestic abuse, poverty, and other situations that would make anyone feel powerless. Something as simple as presenting an opportunity to choose what they WANT to wear served to be empowering.
Held inside the community center’s gymnasium, the space was transformed into a stylish boutique decorated with pink and white balloons, a shoe display, and several racks of tasteful selections of clothing donations. Rejecting the standard drop-off donation method, The Pop-Up Care Shop brings goods to people in need directly and with style!
HOW IT WORKS:
Phase 1 – The founders host a clothing drive social event, hosting locals and influencers. Guests are invited to donate their old goods and learn more about our cause.
Phase 2 – The founders take those donated goods and set-up shop at a charity location.
For phase one, the founders held a clothing drive mixer called Cocktails for a Cause at Brooklyn’s Warehouse Gallery on November 19. The event received much support from popular sponsors Oyin Handmade, RUNA, and Core — to name a few. The project brought in about 700 clothing donations, more than enough for the ~80 clients at SAMMON Build! Much like the mixer event, the December 10th Pop-Up Care Shop was a magical success. With the help of over twenty volunteers, and partnerships with non-profit organization Heeling Soles and Empress Varnado on behalf of Making a Difference, Period, Blagrove and Williams were able to serve the ladies of SAMMON Build with a one-of-a-kind holiday shopping experience they’ll never forget!
There were racks of stylishly selected apparel for the women to choose from, personal shoppers on-hand to help our guests decide what to wear for interviews and upcoming social events, and yummy refreshments for all to enjoy. Heeling Soles supplied the shop with over 100 pairs of shoes and Varnado made care packages of feminine hygiene products. The shop even had a checkout table where the women could get their merchandise nicely packaged for them. The general feedback received from the shoppers was that The Pop-Up Care Shop helped make them feel special not only because of the compassion but also because of the empowering spirit.
Homelessness is still a major epidemic in New York City, with over 61,000 homeless people, including families and children, counted in August 2016. Sadly, that number continues to grow. With so many shelters and programs underfunded and understaffed, distress saturates the space and everyone dwelling within — from the people in need to the folks who provide those needs. It was a beautiful experience to lift spirits this year with a more intimate style of giving. The Pop-Up Care Shop aims to redeem the less fortunate with dignity, enjoyment, and, most of all, choice.