Exchanging money for goods and services can inspire an (albeit brief) dopamine rush. Doing good works feels even better and lasts longer. A UK-based NGO, Help Refugees, decided to combine both. The result? Your head and your heart won’t even know what hit them.
Choose Love is a pop-up store in Manhattan. In the style of the pop-up shop phenomenon, the space is airy, minimal, and, naturally, in Soho. But instead of an independent makeup label or a line of handcrafted shoes, the store sells diapers, emergency blankets, and basic groceries. Shoppers who visit Choose Love select items that will be shipped to refugees in eighty places for displaced people, including France, Croatia, Iraq, and Greece.
At the Soho location, shoppers can select packages and products for refugees in three categories — arrival, shelter, and future. Sponsoring a hot meal costs four dollars. A shelter bundle, which includes a waterproof tent, a sleeping bag, a hygiene pack, and meal ingredients, is eighty dollars. And if you don’t happen to be trundling around SoHo between today and Christmas Eve, the last day of the originally London-based pop-up, you can achieve a similar rush by shopping on the Choose Love website.
Last year, the New York Times reports, the Choose Love pop-up in London allowed shoppers to gift 800,000 meals, 125,000 essential items, and 77,000 packages of diapers to refugees in need.
So long, solitary searches through confusing charity websites for donation pages! Here’s a way to do some Hanukkah shopping, share resources with those forced to flee violence and persecution, and enjoy the bustle of upscale holiday shopping with none of the commercialism. Your post-shopping hot chocolate will never feel more deserved.
Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny