the street store
I started doing The Street Store in the East Bay 6 years ago. It’s a free store for people who are living outside and everyone can come and shop for free. It works. Everything is donated. The Street Store originally started in South Africa and was replicated all over the world. Doing this project and scaling it up was great training for the work I do now.
It's an open source project where you can download a kit and print posters, get donations and host a free store. We did a few tests runs behind the TARGET in Emeryville and 50 people came by and got new clothing, shoes and some food. We did one in People's Park and realized it's overserved. There are MANY other people in the east bay that need help. (In 2020, now we have a shared current map of encampments and RV camps!!)
In 2016, my small team and I organized the Street Store in Civic Center in downtown San Francisco with Lava Mae. That was where things really took off. 300 people showed up and everyone got clothes and shoes and socks. Some hygiene stuff. We realized that this was a model that works well and that we could do it once a month.
After that first test project, Pop Up Care Villages began and now The Street Store is a major pillar of this incredible event that is like a street festival, where several service providers come together in one spot.
Lava Mae has led the way to organize Care Villages in La, San Francisco, Oakland, Austin and all over the country. You can read more about it here.