It’s a good deed for the holidays.
Several of the city’s homeless enjoyed a thrilling shopping experience at the second annual Pop-Up Care Shop at Park Avenue Thorpe in the Bronx on Dec. 16. The two Jamaican-American women behind the shop — Kadia Blagrove and Kydee Williams, started it last year as a way to give back to the needy especially during the holidays. Many people loved the experience so much the first time, they returned this year.
“The shoppers love this. We had one shopper from last year who said it was really nice because they don’t get to shop all the time and we love hearing that,” said Blagrove.
For about four hours, dozens of people came in and shopped away, she added.
The duo collects donated clothing throughout the year, and hold drives in the weeks before for the pop-up in preparation. This year they had more than 50 large bags of donated items and together sifted through various clothing, from shoes, dresses, pants, and even accessories. The shop offers high quality clothing that can be worn for interviews and other special events. It is important for people in need to also have access to nice clothing because often times, the poor are expected to accept undesirable clothing.
“We wanted to reject standards that homeless people that are given clothes have to just take whatever they can get,” said Blagrove. “We spend time meticulously choosing clothing that we would actually wear or buy.”
And setting up the shop, they bring in clothing racks and shopping baskets to replicate that shopping feel, and even have stylists on hand to assist them throughout. The Pop-Up Care Shop is particular in magnifying this because it provides some sense of normalcy for the disadvantaged, and that is one of many reasons the pair wanted to create it.
“Just living in New York, I see homeless people all the time and we just wanted to do something to help alleviate the homeless and empower them, even if it was just for one day,” said Williams.
Williams said that their idea for the pop-up aims to also help the shelters, and provide those in need with control on what they would like to wear.
“The core of it for me is to empower them and give them a choice, and if there is any way we can give back, this is how we can make our contribution,” she said.