Free shopping spree for Montreal-area homeless women

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Homeless women get free Ardene shopping spree
WATCH: About 200 of Montreal’s homeless women, as well as people who work at local shelters, got the chance to shop – for free. Global's Felicia Parrillo finds out about the initiative that’s giving back ahead of International Women’s Day – Mar 6, 2018

For about 150 women, Tuesday was nothing short of a dream. They all got a chance to shop — for free.

“We are opening our doors to 150 women of different shelters from the Montreal area,” said Kelly Solti, director of marketing operations at Ardene. “It’s a private event for everyone to come and shop throughout the day. They can literally take whatever they want, free of charge, as our gift to them.”

READ MORE: Montreal increases funding to support homeless women

In honour of International Women’s Day on Thursday, Ardene, in collaboration with the Shoebox Project, opened its doors to women from 35 different shelters.

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Homeless women and those who work for shelters were able to shop for anything they wanted.

READ MORE: Montreal shelter helps dying homeless

“Most of these women have little to nothing. They arrive in the shelters with the clothes on their backs, and they’ve left a lot of things behind, and now they get a chance to get something new,” said Katherine Velan, Shoebox Project Montreal Chapter co-coordinator.

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Shoppers were able to fill their bags with clothing, undergarments, shoes, and accessories.

The goal of the event is to help homeless women, a group that many say is sometimes forgotten.

READ MORE: Women collect around 1,500 bras for Montreal homeless shelters

“They came to us with very few things. Some of them have a backpack, some of them not even that,” said Cynthia Masi,  a social worker with Shield of Athena. “So for them, to be able to really choose and have things that belong to them, is really an amazing experience.

Organizers say that at the moment, they only hold this event in Montreal. But soon, they’re hoping to expand to all Ardene stores across the country.

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