Calgary street store gives homeless a place to shop

A University group is giving back to the community by giving the homeless a pop-up shop just in time for the holidays.

UCalgary Fashion Network hosted its first pop-up shop giving away free clothes at Olympic Plaza

The so-called Street Store in Calgary was a great place for Maryanne Getz to look for warm clothing for her stay at the Drop-In Centre. (Nelly Albérola/ CBC)

A University group is giving back to the community by giving the homeless a pop-up shop just in time for the holidays. 

The event was put on by the UCalgary Fashion Network — a student club at the University of Calgary — at Olympic Plaza on Saturday.

The group set up the street store with boxes of clothing items they gathered, they also helped patrons warm up with coffee and fuelled the free-for-all shopping spree with Timbits as well. 

President Elizabeth Dayo said this is the first time her group has done a street store initiative. But it was a tremendous success. 

She said within the first 30 minutes they saw a huge chunk of clothing find a new home. 

"I was really surprised," she said. "It was just really nice to see normal people just wanting to get some stuff and have a normal shopping experience — it was really nice to talk to them to see what their experiences are in Calgary." 

Hope to see it grow

Maryanne Getz, who has been staying at the Drop-In Centre for more than a month now, saw posters at the shelter and decided to check it out. She's taking care of a woman who has mobility issues and was looking for items that might help her, and her friend, stay warm. 

"There's a lot more variety than I thought," Getz said. "I'm looking for pants, mostly, I don't really have any pants." 

Getz hopes to see the event happen again, and grow over the years because she said there's always a need for warm clothing in the homeless community. 

'I was really surprised'

It took the fashion club more than three months to gather more than six boxes of donations — and the warmest items went first. 

Dayo​ said next year, they will concentrate on finding more warm clothing items. Things like hats, gloves, mitts and winter jackets. 

"I was really surprised, we weren't sure people would know about it," she said. "It was awesome."


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