Lead SALead SA

SA-born movement hosts global day of giving

Written by: Megan Ellis

What started as a relatively informal event in Cape Town has spawned an international movement. World Street Store Day will see the event return to where it started, alongside many simultaneous events around the globe.

But what is it about?

World Street Store Day comes from The Street Store, a movement which hosts rent-free, premises-free, price-tag-free pop-up stores for the homeless.

The clothes included in these stores'are donated by locals. With the clothes displayed on cardboard hangers and posters, homeless people are free to browse and pick out items they like.

This gives poor people a dignified shopping experience where they don't feel like they are begging or simply rummaging through scraps.

"To bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. Making it easier to donate. And more dignified to receive."

The Street Store Mission Statement

The first event took place in Cape Town in 2014 and was hosted by M&C Saatchi Abel. It quickly spread globally due to the open-source nature of the movement.

The artwork, posters, and logos needed to host a pop-up store are free for others to use if they sign up to host an event.

"We didn’t want to keep the idea to ourselves, or to leave it as a once-off event, so we went open-source. This means that anybody, anywhere in the world can host a Street Store event in their community.”

Kayli Levitan, Creative Group Head of The Street Store

The global event on World Street Store Day will be the 700th such event since the movement's inception.

The success of the movement makes for some interesting maths and suggests something about the willingness of people to give, says M&C Saatchi's Jason Harrison.

"When you break down the numbers, there have been 700 Street Store events hosted over 1 460 days since the concept was launched. This works out to a Street Store being hosted every two days somewhere in the world. It endorses the scale and reach of the idea and the potential to make a real difference and amplifies the inherent generosity and empathy of people towards those in need."

Jason Harrison, Managing Director of M&C Saatchi Cape Town

How do I get involved?

If you would like to get involved in the event, you can either host a store or simply donate your clothes to a local store.

Rather than store hosts gathering the clothes beforehand, donors are asked to come to the store on the day of the event and hang up their items. This helps foster a sense of community between the donors and recipients, adding a more personal element to the act of charity.

You can find out more about the event on The Street Store site.

M&C Saatchi Abel will be hosting an event at the place it all began, outside the Salesian Institute on Somerset Road, Cape Town, from 10:30am time to 2pm on 10 December.

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