Good Neighbors

Students Organize Free "Pop-up Shop" For Families In Need

They wanted to provide a "no judgement" zone for people to come and get what they needed.

What started as a donation drive turned into a day of service for a group of elementary students on Martin Luther King Day.

Led by 12-year-old Evelyn Smith, the group started a donation drive in their community in November, and yesterday they held a “Take What You Need" pop-up shop to help struggling families in Pleasure Ridge park, a neighborhood just outside of Louisville, KY. Anyone was welcome to attend the event and shop for the items they needed – all free of charge.

“They have to live paycheck to paycheck, so what I wanted to do was just have it free for everybody to just come in and grab what they need," Smith told WLKY .


The pop-up shop offered items like clothing, shoes, cleaning supplies, and toys – all items that can't be purchased with food stamps.

One of the shoppers was Louisville mother Samantha Bennett, who had fallen on hard times when her roommate got sick and couldn't pay her share of the rent.

“Times have gotten really tough," Bennett said. “We just spent, literally, our last dollars at the grocery store."


Bennett recently landed a new job, so she came to the event to see if she could find some new clothes.

“I actually heard about it late last night and it came at a really opportune time," she said.

When Smith, now a seventh grader, thought of the idea, she contacted her elementary school and teamed up with a group of four fifth graders to plan the event.


When asked why she wanted to do something to help people she didn't know, Smith said, “I don't know, I like it a lot. It brings a smile to their faces, and that fills me with joy. It was fun."

Sounds like she has the right idea!


Inspired by Evelyn's incredible act of kindness? Why not take the initiative and plan a “Take What You Need" event in your community? You can try reaching out to local businesses for donations, and find a school, library or community center for the venue. You can make a huge impact, just by being kind. Let's #StartSomethingGood together.

How can you start something good?
The Conversation
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