The second edition of “The Empty Shop” clothing drive kicks off in Bucharest

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Promenada has launched the second edition of „The Empty Shop,” a campaign meant to change lives and help people in need through donations of clothes. The campaign is initiated by Promenada Mall, part of the NEP Rockcastle Group, in partnership with Unilever  (OMO, Cocolino) and the Romanian Red Cross.

The 2019 “The Empty Shop” campaign is running as of April 24 until May 19. In 2018, it recorded the best performing clothing drive in Romania, with 73 tons of clothes donated in two weeks. Over 6,700 families in 12 counties benefited of the campaign, with the clothes donated by 10,000 person reaching 28,000 people in the poor areas, with high dropout risk.

An overview of the 2018 campaign is available here.

The main target of the project is to come to the aid of the Romanian families living in poor areas and to contribute to the cutback of dropout and of social exclusion through clothes donation to the communities in need in the country.

„The Empty Shop” is not just about figures, it is also about solidarity, altruism and humanity. Three qualities that we have discovered in our visitors last year and that made that the only empty-shelves store in Romania to re-open. This space will be opened to all those who want to donate clothes and do a good deed until May 19. We usually come to the mall for shopping. But what if we’d also come to the mall to donate? We want to inspire people to adopt new habits, welcoming them with a simple method to contribute for the community. So, Promenada launches the challenge to fill the shelves of an empty shop, for the second time,” said Ana Maria Leca, General Manager Promenada Mall.

She added that through this project Promenada can become a relevant place for the involvement of the community, a place where you can bring a real impact in the others’ life and can contribute to change people’s live.

Romania is among the countries in Europe with the highest levels of poverty, as over 35.7% Romanians are affected by it, according to Eurostat. At the same time, Romania has also the highest level of poor children in Europe, a percentage directly related to a high school dropout, 18%.

In most cases, the lack of clothes is among the reasons preventing children in poor areas from going to school and this situation cannot be covered up.

Marius Barbu, asset manager Nepi Rockcastle Group, said the Empty Shop is the closest project to their heart, while pledging to extend the initiative in other cities in Romania where they are present and also abroad. “We are present in 15 cities in Romania and we are interested in getting involved in the life of the local community. We hope to develop the Empty Shop in more cities in Romania and abroad, for instance, we are in talk for an expansion in Bulgaria,” he stated.

James Simmons, managing director Unilever South Central Europe, has also praised this “wonderful activity”

We take very seriously our responsibilities as a business, as a company that wants to contribute to the society, we want to be a good neighbor, we want to be a good citizen and we want to improve the society that we are part of in big or small ways. We’ve been doing it for a long time (…) Our involvement in this campaign just illuminates a simple idea, that we want to do the most that we can for Romania, and Romanians. I am very committed to this personally, I really encourage everybody to spread the word. I’d like to do a hundred ton of clothes if we could,” he said.

In her turn, Andreea Furtuna, social project manager at the Romanian Red Cross, said that the most heard statements among the beneficiaries are „I don’t have anything to wear, that’s why I am not coming to school” or „Clothes or food, clothes or firewood?”.

„The Red Cross is always by the side of the vulnerable people and the social programme is one of our strategic directions. Our volunteers will take over the hard mission of taking, sorting and delivering the clothes to the most vulnerable people. We call in donors to also stand by the beneficiaries, by respecting the human dignity through the quality of the items and we assure you that your donations will reach where they are mostly needed”, she said.

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