Friday, January 4, 2013

Holiday Pop-Up Shop

Hurricane Sandy shook our community over two months ago and the restoration of Staten Island still continues. Equally as important, during the holiday season, was making sure that the victims had some "normalcy" back in their lives. After all, giving back is a key part of the holiday spirit.

On December 22nd, Fashion Delivers brought some joy to the Vanderbilt on Staten Island with the "Holiday Pop-Up Shop." Fashion Delivers is a charitable organization that takes new products donated by manufacturers and retailers and gives them to community charities across the U.S. and throughout the world. These donated items help survivors of natural disasters and other people in need rebuild their lives. Fashion Delivers gives companies with excess inventory an easy and efficient way to give back to society. In fact, back in 2005, they also helped the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The "Holiday Pop-Up Shop" was for victims of Hurricane Sandy on Staten Island who had a FEMA number and pre-registered for the event. From the moment I arrived, there was a line out the door and down the block. It's sad to see that so many people needed help, but it was wonderful to know that every single person on that line was going to get what they needed.
Small groups were let into the Vanderbilt by volunteers and police officers, and each person received a shopping bag. They were told that they could take one jacket per person and a comforter once they stepped behind the curtain into the "shopping zone." Aside from that, they could take whatever fit in their shopping bag - and everything was completely free! After about 15 minutes, the crowd would be asked to leave and a new group would be let in.
I had to see what the room looked like, so after a few groups transitioned, I ventured behind a large curtain to see what items they had up for grabs. I was shocked to see exactly how many things were donated: jackets, baby clothes, toys, bags, undergarments, and even jewelry! One of the volunteers told me that Burlington Coat Factory donated 750 jackets! It also made me really made me happy to see that it wasn't just the "necessities" being offered. People often forget that it's those little luxuries, like jewelry, bags, and toys, that can make things feel normal again.
Charles Garone, Director of Aquilon Shows (a traveling trade exhibitions company), organized the pop-up shop with the help of Fashion Delivers. I have to say, everyone involved did an amazing job. The event was unlike anything I've ever seen! The volunteers should be so proud of the impact they could have had on a single family by making their holiday season a little more joyful.
Thank you, Charles Garone, for allowing me to be a part of such a beautiful event. You and Fashion Delivers came to provide relief when we needed it the most. It is because of people like you that Staten Island continues to maintain hope for a full recovery. Thank you all so much for everything you have done.

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