A day in the life at the essentials pop-up shop

15 September 2021

A Blog by Ava Pevsner

The essentials pop-up shop began as a marquee frantically housing all sorts of donations, from clothes to toiletries to children’s toys to bags. To get donations out to people in the most efficient way, our aim was to create some structure inside the tent in a way which made it easier for us to assemble orders of essential items to be delivered to refugees in hotels.

Over the course of the week we created order, arranging items by category in different areas of the tent. For example, we have an area with items for pregnant women and babies, we have an area with items for children split up into books, toys, arts and crafts, we have an area with toiletries split up by product and we have an area for clothes organised by item of clothing and size. We have also created labelled bundles of toiletries with all of the essentials inside, including bundles for a man and a woman, bundles for just a woman, bundles for just a man and bundles for a child. When an order is received, this makes it a lot quicker and easier for us to gather exactly we need to. Using suitcases and duffel bags to carry the donations, we pack them up, label them and then they are ready to be delivered to people in hotels.

An online ordering system has been set up, allowing people to make more specific orders in which they can let us know their specific clothes and shoe sizes and what items they are in need of. For example, we might receive an order for a woman who is size small and her 6 year old son, so we will collect two toiletries bundles, some toys or arts and crafts for the son, clothes and shoes in their sizes, pack these into a suitcase and it is ready to be sent off.

Throughout each day, as well as collecting and packing orders, we receive more donations which we then organise and distribute to their specific areas of the tent, ready to be collected for future orders. The system works great for us and has come such a long way in what’s only been a short space of time. When delivering donations, refugees and hotels have been pleased with the system we’ve created and we only hope to make it more efficient so that we can deliver as many essential donations as we can to those in need.