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On the corner of an unremarkable street in South Africa, a little pop-up shop set off a worldwide reaction. Made only from posters, it was the world’s first rent-free, premises-free, totally-free pop-up store created just for the homeless.

The shop, aptly called the “Street Store,” takes donated items such as clothes and shoes, organizes them by category and size and allows the homeless to shop (for free) in a dignified way. No more suspicious glances or having to beg. There are even “personal shoppers” who make sure the clothes and shoes they choose fit properly. How sweet is that?

Pop-up store for the homeless becomes a worldwide phenomenon1

The original pop-up helped over 3,500 homeless people and social media took notice. So, the store decided to let people download its artwork and host their own local Street Store wherever they live. Now, over 105 stores have popped up (including three in Vancouver and one in Toronto!) and more than 1,800 people have sent in their applications to set up their own shops. It’s remarkable how one small, simple idea can literally change the world.

To host your very own Street Store, simply visit TheStreetStore.org and send in your application.

It’s chilly, non? No wonder you’re a bit cranky, what with those frozen fingers and red nose, but before you let the winter blues completely take over, we’ve got just the thing to help you snap out of it. Warm your cold, frozen Canadian heart with daily feel-good stories all winter long right here on The Loop. Get ready, because you’re bound to find yourself smiling at lot more than usual.