Provocatively titled Crack + Cider, a pop-up store for the homeless, opened in Hackney this month and hopes to make a genuine difference in the lives of the borough’s rough sleepers.
It is a place customers can buy winter clothing and essentials for London’s homeless and rough sleepers. The store opened on November 4 and is scheduled to stay open until the December 23.
Distribution of the goods is handled by the store, and its connections with soup kitchens and shelters around London.
Crack + Cider founders, Charlotte Cramer, 24 from Tower Hamlets and Scarlett Montanaro, 25 from Islington said: “You see a homeless person, and you want to help, but you don’t and then you end up feeling bad. This way, we’re giving people a way to help.”
According to homelessness charity Crisis, 7,581 people slept on the capital’s street in 2015, a number they believe will rise.
The model is simple; they have sourced local vendors and identified their stock, which includes socks, warm fleeces, umbrellas, gloves, Thinsulate hats, a 40L backpack and a military grade waterproof jacket.
Customers can either go in and make a donation toward a specific item, or simply donate online.
The duo set up the entire initiative with their savings, at a starting cost of £300. Since initiation, they’ve raised £4,000, have secured an anonymous donor to cover all costs, and while we go to press, have two print sponsor offers.
The endeavor is purely not for profit, and no one involved gets paid. One Good Deed Today has donated the physical space, for the seven weeks the store is due to run.
As for the choice of name, one homeless man told Montanaro and Cramer “people don’t give me money because they think I’ll just spend it on crack and cider”, the name just seemed to fit.
Montanaro and Cramer said: “The name is not a comment on what they’re (the homeless) going to do with the money, it’s more about pointing out a stereotype that exists and is wrong; we’re trying to mirror how people think. Ultimately, the choice of name has sparked a lot of conversation, which is what we wanted to begin with.”
The physical store will come down just before Christmas, but the online store will continue to run, unless a new space is donated.
If you want to volunteer or make a donation, visit the store at One Good Deed Today, 73 Kingsland Road, or shop online here.
Prices of goods in the store range from £7 to £60.
The store is open Wednesday through Sunday throughout November, and everyday in December until the 23.
By Rashi Wadhera