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’Tis the season to be a capitalist consumer, but if scuffles at the tills over Black Friday bargains give you chills, spend discount day at this special shop where the aim is to leave empty-handed.
Set up by Help Refugees, Choose Love is the world’s only shop selling real gifts for refugees. Inside you’ll find shelves filled with emergency blankets, children’s shoes and mobile phone credit. Once you’ve bought what you can, the products are distributed by one of more than 80 projects that the humanitarian aid organisation works with around the world.
The shop is split into three areas, each containing things that refugees need at different stages of their journeys. In the ‘Arrival’ section you’ll find warm clothing and food; ‘Shelter’ is filled with tents and sleeping bags; ‘Future’ holds education supplies, LGBTQ+ support and mental health care. Items on sale start at £3, or if you’re feeling altruistic, you can buy special collections of gifts like the Bundle of Hope which pays for mental health care, adult learning and women’s support. If you like, you can buy the entire contents of the shop.
This is the third year Choose Love has popped up in London in the run-up to Christmas. In 2018 a huge queue snaked outside the entrance. What better way to stick two fingers up at the Black Friday frenzy and do some good instead.