The Vancouver Street Store made its return to Downtown Eastside Saturday for its ninth year of supporting those in need.
The event in Oppenheimer Park provides area residents with a “dignified shopping experience.”
It was organized by Employ to Empower, a non-profit focused on uplifting Downtown Eastside residents through entrepreneurship.
”People experiencing homelessness can choose what they want and need at no cost, where people have the autonomy to choose what’s useful for them,” said Christina Wong, Employ To Empower’s executive director.
“We got music, haircuts and food, so it’s just this lively one-day festival for our Downtown Eastside community.”
Community members were able to choose up to ten items free of charge, such as warm clothing, blankets, and backpacks. Free haircuts were also being done.
The non-profit said its pop-up store’s goal is to not only provide people with what they need but also offer companionship and community during the holidays.
”I think this store at Oppenheimer Park really brings people together and has that sense of belonging and connection that it’s been sorely missed over these past few years during the pandemic,” Wong said.
One community member echoed Wong’s comments, saying the event is important for the locals.
“It’s a way of getting the public together and also helps revitalize the whole community,” said Chris Clarke, a Downtown Eastside resident.