The Spirit of MLK Lives on in A Pop Up Store

Life’s most persistant and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?.                ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

My friend Janice, with her friend Catherine, has created a beautiful Pop-Up Shop at her church. Through Operation Warm Heart (one of many programs of The Coalition to Support the Homeless), Janice has supported her church program to give shelter to homeless people. When Janice noticed the coats left in a heap as guests arrived, she had an idea: how can I create a shopping space with donated coats and other clothing, where people could shop when they arrived? Indeed, Janice did it! Here Janice tells her story ..

Over the summer I asked Catherine if she would mind if the took the problem of the clothing off her hands. I was glad she didn’t mind. I asked the Trustees to clean out the coat room, which is a nice size room. I purchased clothing racks and display signs from a local Sears; when I shared my purpose with the salespeople they were very helpful in selecting the equipment that I would need. The youth group at the church helped me to hang the donated clothing on racks. I loved the concept of a Pop-UP Shop and selected a name which is full of meaning for me. Johnnie Mae and Edna’s Pop-Up Shop is named after my mom and my Aunt Edna.  My aunt was the director of social services in Cranford, NJ, and my mom always talked about being kind and understanding of people, especially those in need. My grandparents helped people during the Depression; their children had a good example to follow.

My shop opened in December for Catherine’s first day of hosting. The guests now come every Tuesday (we used to host only once a month). Operating the shop is so much fun! I usually have volunteers to help me and many of them come because they have heard of it. The guests are encouraged to come in and shop when they arrive. Continue reading

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