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November 30, 2018

Choose Love: The Pop-Up Store Where Shoppers Buy Gifts For Refugees

Last week saw shoppers flood the streets of Britain in hope of securing a Black Friday bargain.

Yet while some queued for flat screen TVs or hunted for online discount codes, one shop asked consumers to put their money towards a different line of products.

Choose Love, a pop-up store near Carnaby Street, London, invites visitors to, “Shop your heart out, leave with nothing, and feel the love”.

Started by the charity Help Refugees, the shop lets customers buy a range of items for refugees, including tents, sleeping bags and solar lamps.

Along with these products, shoppers can also contribute money toward legal support, family reunions and mental health services.

According to Josie Naughton, the chief executive of Help Refugees, Choose Love offers a way to help as well as chance to reflect on what’s really important during the festive period.

“When you look at the stats of how much money is spent on Black Friday and compare that to the need in the world, it’s quite shocking,” she told the Guardian.

“We just really wanted to show there was another way to look at consumerism and another way to look at Black Friday.”

This is the second year Help Refugees has launched the pop-up. Last year, the London location (and its online counterpart) raised £750,000, providing refugees with 800,000 meals, 3,556 nights of accommodation, and 25,000 winter items.

This year’s effort looks to be just as successful, with the queue of customers who visited on Black Friday snaking out of the door. Naughton believes people are drawn to Choose Love not only through a desire to help, but to experience something that humanises a crisis often reduced to statistics.

“We could never ever have predicted the success of the store. The way people have responded to it was amazing. People were coming into the physical shop, see a child’s boot and burst into tears.”

For more information about Choose Love and the work of Help Refugees, head to the website.

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