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Free shopping offered to flood victims

(Source: Steve Benjamin) (Source: Steve Benjamin)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin has announced a "free, private shopping experience for flood survivors" happening this weekend.

The event, open to those across the region who were displaced by the Midlands' historic floods in early October, will take place at Dutch Square Mall Friday - Sunday.

To be eligible for a shopping pass for brand new bedding, toys, furniture,  and clothing, flood victims must provide a valid photo ID and a FEMA letter.

"This is a really significant effort," Benjamin said. "We are really excited about the prospect of helping those affected by the floods. We'll be distributing well over a million dollars worth of products. Maybe we can make the season of giving a little brighter for some. 

Brands taking part in what's being called the "Holiday Pop-Up Shop" are: Aeropostale, Free People, GAP, Gerber, Hot Topic, IKEA, Melissa & Doug, Toys "R" Us and others.

Shopping hours:

Friday, December 11th 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Reserved for Community Partners & NOT FOR GENERAL PUBLIC)
Saturday, December 12th 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 13th 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Dutch Square Mall
421 Bush River Road

“This is about giving more than a new couch, clothes or even a present under the tree,” Benjamin said. “This is about giving hope and I couldn’t be more proud.”

The event is made possible through K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers, Inc. According to its website, the company helps "fight poverty and tragedies through the gift of new products, including apparel, accessories, shoes, home furnishings, toys, books, school supplies and other items. Excess merchandise is donated from companies that make or market the goods, and we deliver hope and dignity to people in need through community nonprofit partners. Since 1985, over $1 billion of donated products have been distributed through our network, serving the poor and disadvantaged worldwide."

“Over 400 companies donate to us every year, helping people affected by natural disasters or the daily distress of poverty. For disasters we concentrate on basic necessity items in apparel – like underwear, t-shirts and jeans - and home furnishings such as comforters, sheets, pillows and towels,” Lisa Gurwitch, president and CEO of K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers said. “For manufacturers and retailers, the problem of excess product can be turned into a humanitarian solution for people in need."

K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers has secured at least $1.3 million in new product donated for South Carolina relief efforts to date.

There is a quota for how much of each item flood victims can take.

For more information, go to Steve Benjamin's website

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