The 689th International Street Store was held in the Bellville CBD on Friday, 1 December. The Street Store, started in Cape Town but now an international phenomenon, is the world’s first rent free, premises free, no cost pop up clothing store for the homeless.

Hosted by the Greater Tygerberg Partnership, the event relies on the generosity of the local community to donate clothing for the homeless people on our streets.  The response from the people in the Bellville and surrounding areas was phenomenal. Over 700kg of clothing was received at the six collection points over the two week window.

“The response was overwhelming” said Monique Muller, a project manager at the GTP.  “We had to close donations early as we could not cope with the amount of clothing coming in,” The generosity did not end there, Washtub Industrial Laundry offered to wash and press all the clothing received at a minimal cost saving over R10, 000 in the process.

This could also not have been achieved without the support of the other NGO’s in the area such as MES, TASP, The Haven, VRCID and local law enforcement. Contrary to some perceptions, this type of event is extremely well organized and planned to the finest detail.  All homeless people eligible to shop on the day have to be registered at one of the local shelters and be entering or part of a rehabilitation program. They received a “shopping card” in the week leading up to the event and were then presented with a shopping bag which they could fill with the four items of clothing allowed.

 

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“The event was an enormous success” commented Warren Hewitt, CEO of the GTP, adding “a big thank you to all our partners but especially the people of Bellville who were so generous in their donations and to my team for all their hard work.”

“Homelessness befalls a variety of people, often through circumstances beyond their control and to see the air of dignity when choosing an item of clothing that fitted was well worth all the effort.” Hewitt added.

All leftover clothing has been donated to the local shelters and community centers for redistribution.

The GTP can be contacted at 021 823 6713 or email info@gtp.org.za