Pop-up shop for the homeless coming to Joburg

2015-05-27 16:24
(File, Shutterstock)

(File, Shutterstock)

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Johannesburg - Many of us are familiar with the old cliché, "You are what you wear".

But for the homeless and destitute, there is not much of a choice when it comes to what they wear.  

This winter, however, those who call the streets their home will be given a chance to shop without worrying about the price tag or being trailed by suspicious security guards.

A church in Alberton has taken on a project called The Street Store – a rent-free, premises-free, pop-up charity store – where they will help to clothe 500 men, women and children who sleep at the six homeless shelters in the area.  

"They are used to digging in dustbins and we want to give them a shopping experience like one might have in Foschini or Truworths," said Wesley Naidoo, heading the project for the Ekklessia Family Church.

Instead of rifling through bargain bins, "shoppers" will get to browse among aisles of clean, neatly hung clothing with the help of their very own personal assistant.

But where will the stock come from? That's where the public comes in.

The church has called on people to donate shoes, hats, pants, jerseys and jackets. They're also looking for volunteers to help with the styling.

"Our plan is to give a person five items each," said Naidoo, adding that this would preferably include a blanket.

Volunteers participating in the project will meet on June 13 at the Glen Shopping Centre and the Alberton Shopping Mall. These are also the dropping-off point for donations.

June 20 'sale'

Naidoo explained that they needed a week to sort, clean and iron the clothes and polish the shoes ahead of the "sale" on June 20.  

"We want to see them [the homeless] being clothed with dignity," said Naidoo, who got the idea from a similar project he saw at a church in Durban last year.

"It really inspired me. I shared this idea with my church here in Johannesburg and the pastor and leadership team were as excited as I was," he said on the project's official Facebook page.

"There is a real need for hope and happiness in our city, especially with the recent negative impact of xenophobia," Naidoo said.

"Our plan is to bring warmth to those who are cold, and some hope to the hopeless," he said.

Read more on:    johannesburg

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