Everything here was free. And donated.
We first started doing the street store independently with friends and family behind the TARGET in Emeryville one Thanksgiving. We did the first Street Store in the Bay Area. Then, we did another one in People's Park in January 2015. Then I approached Lava Mae about doing a clothing pop up, and we did it.
Soon after, after much work on Lava Mae's behalf, the Pop Up Care Village was born and the Street Store became and still is a regular fixture in it!! Still is. Thousands of people have benefitted from doing this as a concept where we bring together many services. I loved working with the team at the SF Public Library. They are dialed in. They were such beautiful liasons, and gave us all we needed to do crowd control and host a free store that served 300 people in one day, every month. It was easy. We were all on the same page.
“Veronica Van Gogh was the founder and Project Lead of the Street Store (a free monthly pop up clothing store) outside of the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library. She worked tirelessly in reaching out to the community to ensure that The Street Store was fully-stocked with free clothing and shoes which hundreds of homeless people access during our monthly Pop Up Care Village. Thank you Veronica for your staunch advocacy and efforts to provide our Pop Up Care Village guests including many of the library patrons with quality clothing and shoes.”
Leah Esguerra, LMFT
San Francisco Public Library/Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing
SFPL Social Service Team Supervisor
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
If you want to know more about this... I just wanna share.
I learned SO MUCH from doing this and it informs how east bay angels is
actively doing what we do now.
I have learned what it means to lead a team, and create a safe free space in public where you have to think about flow (egress) and signage and safety - as our store grew to serve over 300 people in one day.
Imagine you are running the store with over 10 volunteers, and people are bringing you the clothing donations the day of the event. It is crazy. But also fun. Though no one is grounding all that. (That is why east bay angels is a bit different)
It's a lot of activity and logistics. Coat racks were bought, and an Uber drive gave me a white eazy-open tent for the project when I first started it. It all came together very easily and grew very quickly.
A free store pop up model made sense and was a good fit with what Lava Mae was doing.
Doing Pilot Projects is smart.
Test it out. See what's what. See what people really need.
We are always learning something.
Burn out is something we all need to watch for ...
so pace yourself. That is what I have learned.
Be in a strong place before you do this work always.
Meditate. Nurture your team. Have solid check ins.
My team and I sourced
And gave it all away for free!
We could not weight it, but it would easily fill a swimming pool!
Thick winter Jackets, jeans, pairs of shoes and bags were given out for free in Civic Center over 12 months.
pairs of clean socks given out at The Street Store in a year.
Total number of Street Stores that I organized and Project Managed
with a large team of 10 - 25 volunteers. The number of volunteers changed
every time we did a Pop Up Care Village.
1650 gorgeous souls
came and shopped for free.
Lots of hugs
Lots of people getting everything they needed
after having all their shit stolen.
Pop ups are the way to go.