By Sophie Yalkezian
For any gal looking to take part in some good old-fashioned holiday giving, women’s clothing store Tabula Rasa has a fun, new, and very rewarding way to do it. Located just over the bridge at Danforth and Broadview, the store is holding a clothing and gift drive in exchange for a 20% discount.
The ladies at Tabula will be taking in old scarves, boots, hats and gloves and donating them to Eva’s Initiatives, a Toronto organization that provides housing for homeless, at-risk youth. Meanwhile, item-specific gift drives will take place in the store each Saturday, from now until December 18. Each week has a specific category, and all donations from those events will go to Interval House, the neighbourhood women’s shelter. The organization takes care of women who have fled abusive relationships and sets them up with housing, counseling and legal support.
“Many of these women get to Interval House with their kids and nothing but the clothes on their backs. So we wanted to help them get the essentials and have a good holiday, after everything they’ve been through,” says Whitney McMeekin, organizer of the event and Tabula employee.
Each Saturday will have a specific category of gift items to buy, like toiletries, toys and books, or gift cards. TTC tokens are on the list for every week, “because it’s one of those little things that people don’t realize can be a big need” says McMeekin. Tabula Rasa, only a year and half old on the Danforth strip, carries vintage pieces along with dozens of labels like Mink Pink and Alternative Apparel. For the winter season, the store is stocked with party dresses and tops, and cozy winter sweaters.
“We’re a women’s store, so it’s definitely about women helping women,” says McMeekin, adding “we love our neighbourhood and we want to be known as a store that does events like this that get everyone involved.”
Holiday Give-Back was put together in conjunction with a concert on December 7th, entitled Un-Silent Night. Redanda, The Formalists, The Neigbourhood Watch and Sunreels will all light up the dingy insides of the Silver Dollar, in order to benefit the Hope for Children Foundation. The price is five dollars, and it goes towards the foundation’s Adopt-A-Family program. McMeekin has organized this event independently from Tabula Rasa, but it’s sure to be a success as well.
McMeekin has high hopes for this month, and great ideas already brewing for the future. She says there are plans in the works for drives that aren’t holiday-themed, ones that call for donations of household items or old business clothing for the women of Interval House to go on job interviews.
But this December will be the test-run for those plans, and McMeekin is excited. She jokes, “we’re gonna knock your socks off – no literally, give us your socks.”