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The Street Store goes west

Free clothes, entertainment and more: a one-day freestore is coming to west Auckland this Saturday, writes Zaskiya Lesa.

The Street Store, initially a South African venture, provides clothes for the homeless and others in need, especially families. It’s already popped up in central and south Auckland and now, hosted by Habitat for Humanity and Taniwha Tales, it’s about to appear at the Corban Estate Art Centre in Henderson. They’re still accepting donations.

Habitat for Humanity is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to resolving the housing needs of vulnerable people. Its Henderson opportunity shop, ReStore, is collaborating with other local groups in the Street Store venture. There will be food, entertainment, workshops and support from many other groups.

ReStore Henderson manager Shelley Green says people are struggling financially and with winter approaching there’s a huge need for their help.

“We want to be able to give homeless and vulnerable families the opportunity to come and collect what they need, but [we’re here] for them to also understand that there are people and organisations that care,” she says.

The store has received 30 bags of clothes and says they are keen to receive more donations, especially of blankets, sleeping bags, gloves, socks, men’s jackets and warm clothing for children. The details of where to take them are here.

Arts group Taniwha Tales will run a wood-carving workshop and the group’s “house mother”, Joy Wells, will offer “spiritual healing”. There will also be entertainment by their live band.

Robert Marriner and Joy Wells. Photo: Zaskiya Lesa

Wells says she has had her own experiences with homelessness and other hardships. “My trials and tribulations helped me see the higher love within myself and I understand the people who have been a part of hard and difficult times. Hopefully, I can teach them how I’ve been able to heal myself.”

Former rough sleeper and Taniwha Tales member Robert Marriner says the event is a great way to show people care.

“I’m a very caring man. I care about everyone in this community and everyone in the world. I care that people care enough to help people and I support anything that’s along that line.”

Marriner says he was homeless for 30 years, but now has a house of his own. Thanks to Taniwha Tales and its coordinator, Grant Wilson, he says, he’s been able to pursue his interest in wood carving, and plans to showcase some of his work at the event.

The Street Store: Corban Estate Arts Centre, Henderson, 10am-2pm. Click here for more information, including how to donate.

Zaskiya Lesa is a journalism student at AUT. This story first appeared in the AUT student journalism newspaper, Te Waha Nui. 

Feature photo: ReStore Henderson manager Shelley Green. Photo by Zaskiya Lesa


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