Home­less given chance to go shop­ping

North Shore Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - ZIZI SPARKS

Jes­sica Lee wants the home­less to feel com­pas­sion and kind­ness.

So the 17-year-old is host­ing a Street Store, an idea which orig­i­nated in South Africa.

It’s a rent-free, premises-free, pop-up cloth­ing store for the home­less, put to­gether us­ing do­na­tions from the pub­lic.

Lee is host­ing the store as part of a project at her school, Al­bany Se­nior High School, and first found out about the idea on­line.

The Glen­field res­i­dent thought it was a unique way to ad­dress an is­sue.

‘‘About 20,000 peo­ple are liv­ing in home­less­ness in Auck­land ac­cord­ing to Auck­land Coun­cil. That’s just hor­ri­ble,’’ Lee said.

‘‘Dur­ing times like these, it’s im­por­tant to bring the com­mu­nity to­gether and show home­less we are treat­ing them with com­pas­sion and kind­ness.’’

Lee was en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to do­nate cloth­ing and shoes they no longer want ei­ther on the day of the event or at the high school in the days pre­ced­ing it.

The idea is, dur­ing the event, those in need can take what they need and peo­ple want­ing to do­nate can also do so.

‘‘There’ll be con­stant clothes com­ing in and com­ing out,’’ Lee said.

Lee had also part­nered with Life­wise Merge Cafe, a non-profit cafe which uses profit to sup­port the home­less, and would be helped by vol­un­teers on the day.

She was also let­ting home­less or­gan­i­sa­tion know so they could spread the word.

‘‘It's im­por­tant to re­mem­ber they are hu­man be­ings just like us.’’

Jes­sica Lee

Lee said plan­ning the event was re­ward­ing and she’d con­sider re­peat­ing it.

‘‘I’m hop­ing it will be suc­cess­ful. Peo­ple in Auck­land are com­pas­sion­ate and car­ing. It’s just try­ing to bridge the gap. Some peo­ple find they want to help but don’t know how,’’ Lee said.

‘‘Home­less are brushed aside and stereo­typed. It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber they are hu­man be­ings just like us.’’

The Street Store was be­ing held on Septem­ber 9 from 9am till 4pm and the clothes would be hung from the red fence at 75 Quay St. Lee was ask­ing peo­ple to ei­ther do­nate on the day or at Al­bany Se­nior High School on Septem­ber 7 and 8 from 9am till 4pm. She said warm clothes and shoes would be in de­mand and she also wanted peo­ple to spread the word.

For more find the event ‘‘681st Street Store - Auck­land City, New Zealand’’ on Face­book.

ZIZI SPARKS/STUFF

Jes­sica Lee is col­lect­ing cloth­ing do­na­tions to host a Street Store for home­less.

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