An Auckland teen has organised a pop-up store to give those with little to call their own a more dignified "shopping" experience.

Jessica Lee, 17, has partnered with Lifewise Merge Cafe to set up the 681st Street Store where clothes are donated and the homeless are able to come in and choose what they'd like.

On September 9 the array of clothes will be hung up along the red fences by the wharf and those sleeping rough on the streets will be able to come and choose a new outfit for themselves.

"I thought it was a really amazing project...this event gives a unique dignified shopping experience to those who may not usually receive it. That's empowering," Lee said.


The teen goes to Albany High School and has organised the event as part of a school community project.

Street Store is a global concept that was started in 2014 in South Africa and has since travelled around the world with more than 600 pop-ups over the past three years.

The idea was to enable someone to set up the store, rent-free and offer clothing for free for the homeless.

Lee felt compelled to set up a store herself, to help the growing numbers of homeless in Auckland city.

"I feel that the homeless are always being brushed aside and labelled with negative stereotypes," she said. "Continuing to place them behind stereotypes needs to be changed."

Jessica Lee wants to do her bit to help those who are struggling to make ends meet. Photo: NZ Focus
Jessica Lee wants to do her bit to help those who are struggling to make ends meet. Photo: NZ Focus

Lee said it was critical at times like these that our community "supports one another and treats everyone with kindness".

"Something we need more of in Auckland is kindness."

Aucklanders wanting to help can pop on down to the store at 75 Quay St, in the CBD, to offer any clothes they want to donate.


Otherwise Lee has also organised for a drop off at her school, two days before the event.

The Year 13 student, who was contemplating a career in either social work or engineering, said the experience has shown her how hard some people have it.

She said it was an eye-opening experience that compelled her to do more community work in the future.

"I guess to just show that it is important to support anyone who is in need."