Any kid that’s shared their lunch money knows the joy of making sure others are fed and cared for, and one nonprofit is doing the same for one of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Debuting on Black Friday and open through 24 December in London, New York, and L.A., Choose Love is possibly the only brick-and-mortar store where you can go in and buy as much as you fancy, but still leave empty-handed. Run by the nonprofit Help Refugees, the shops sell only products to help refugees on their journey, from food and shelter to warm coats and baby clothes – and anything you purchase goes straight where it’s needed most.
“Across Europe, the Middle East, and on the US border, Help Refugees is supporting hundreds of thousands of refugees living in camps, temporary housing, and tents. Dropping temperatures are making already hard lives nearly impossible,” Help Refugees CEO Josie Naughton said in a press release. “By shopping in the Choose Love stores in London, New York, LA or online ordinary people are helping provide support where governments are failing.”
In London, the two-floor shop in Seven Dials boasts a DJ booth, a stage, and a seating area, in addition to merchandise displays. The Los Angeles store is located in West Hollywood, while the New York outpost can be found in Soho. Each space is split into distinct sections that represent the different stages of a refugee's journey: “Arrival,” which includes warm clothes and food; “Shelter,” featuring tents, sleeping bags, and hygiene packs; and “Future,” which provides mental health care and educational supplies, among other things. This year, you can also opt to purchase products and services themed to specific needs and bundled together, from the self-explanatory “Bundle of Warmth” to the “Bundle of Hope,” which includes adult learning tools and resources offering support to women.
Each item ranges in price from £3 to £500 ($4 to $660), both in-store and online. Since its launch in 2017, 45,000 people have shopped at Choose Love, both in person and on the website, helping with the distribution of 1.6 million items to more than 800 million refugees worldwide. It’s raised some £3 million ($4 million), funding nearly 160,000 hot meals, more than 1.3 million diapers, 19,000 blankets, and sponsoring a rescue boat that spent six months at sea.
“Every purchase goes towards life-changing support for some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” Naughton said. “This holiday season, we hope millions of people add a refugee to their gift list.”
For more information, visit choose.love.
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