Pop-Up Store Lets Shoppers ‘Choose Love’ for Refugees in Need

Here’s a novel idea for Christmas: Visit a pop-up shop in London’s Soho district where you can “shop your heart out, leave with nothing, and feel the love.” There’s also a Choose Love store in New York, or you can choose love from your couch, using this link.

From now until Christmas Eve, shoppers can do their part for the refugee crisis by purchasing gifts for refugees in need. 

“Christmas is a time of giving in abundance, but it makes you think about people who aren’t as lucky as we are,” explains Josie Naughton, CEO of Help Refugees, which has set up the shop, along with creative collective Glimpse. “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.”

For the record, Mastercard alone estimated sales on Black Friday 2018 to hit $23 billion.

A Choose Love store takes customers through the three stages of a refugee’s journey. First there’s “Arrival,” where you can purchase some of the basics for a refugee to survive — like hot food, a warm jacket and a snug pack. 

Stage two is “Shelter.” Having fled conflict at home, refugees can end up spending years in camps. Here customers can buy items such as diapers, a hot shower or a sleeping bag to provide a sense of humanity to refugees.

The third stage is “Future,” and it supports groups that help refugees get started again. Customers can buy school bags and supplies, medical care and even accommodation for refugees at this level.

This is the second year that Choose Love has set up shop. In 2017, the London store and its virtual equivalent raised £750,000, providing refugees with 800,000 meals, 3,556 nights of accommodation and 25,000 winter items for adults. It also raised enough money to provide 1,399 life jackets for people to use on the perilous sea journey crossing the Mediterranean from Turkey.

This is such a lovely idea: not just giving to a charity at Christmas, but also making a real difference in the lives of actual people by buying important items that they really need. In this way, customers know exactly how their money is helping refugees survive. Not to mention, they’re not just buying gadgets and goodies for the sake of it, because it’s Christmas. 

Even better, 100 percent of the money raised goes toward refugees, since shops are staffed by volunteers.

The project is being backed by models Suki Waterhouse and Daisy Lowe, who attended the store opening in London, and by actress Julia Roberts, who has been sporting a Choose Love t-shirt.

James Turner, Glimpse co-founder, stated:

We’re hoping this is the start of something big. Imagine if every high street had a Choose Love store, where you could learn about what’s happening out there in the world and do something practical to help. It feels like so many of us have had enough of mindless shopping, and we’re looking for a positive alternative. Perhaps this is it.

We certainly need more people to choose love when we have an American president who consistently opts for hate.

Photo Credit: DFID/Flickr


Barbara S
Barbara S15 days ago


Diane E
Diane E16 days ago

Great idea. Please do more of this.

Vincent T
Vincent T21 days ago


Maria P
Martha P2 months ago

Thanks for posting

Olivia M
Past Member 2 months ago


Ingrid A
Past Member 2 months ago

thank you for sharing

Daniel N
Past Member 3 months ago

Thank you

John W
John W4 months ago

Thank you for sharing this :-)

Victoria P
Victoria P4 months ago

Thank you

Jack Y
Jack Y4 months ago