I admit that I am not immune to the sudden panic that comes with December the first. I’m only human. Luckily my family and friends are fairly tuned into a ‘pared down’ Christmas, and happy with a book, or something pre-loved and passed on, so the pressure is in my head, not theirs. More and more though, retailers- and charities- are cottoning on to the fact that if people can spend money, contribute less to landfill and feel good about themselves- it’s a win-win situation.
Read on for a few ways you could help refugees when you go shopping this year:
1)Buy gifts for Refugees in need- Choose Love
Choose Love says it’s the first shop where you can buy real gifts for refugees. You can buy a ‘hot meal’ for £5, a tent for £30, and lots of other essential items, including the whole store for £650. The items make their way to refugees in need across the world. And a bit like Oxfam’s goat poo –if you’re buying it as a gift, you can send the recipient a card to show what you ‘bought’ them. Choose Love say they’ve funded more than 1.5 million items for refugees since 2017.
2) Learn to cook with Migrateful cookery classes
Migrateful is an organisation that connects people through the love of food. Migrant chefs run cookery classes, that not only share the secrets of delicious regional cooking, but are also a perfect environment for migrants and non-migrants to meet, learn something new, integrate and enjoy food. It’s also a way for the chefs to move towards employment and build their confidence.
You can buy gift vouchers for their cookery classes in London, Kent and Bristol, or organise a team one for a Christmas celebration for your organisation! That’s my sister and her husband sorted. (I hope they don’t read this…and invite me round to theirs soon)
3) Show your campaigning colours with a purchase from Right to Remain
Right to Remain is a campaigning organisation, that helps people understand the immigration process with resources and training, and access their rights with dignity and humanity. You can buy hoodies and t-shirts- with the iconic ‘No one is Illegal’ slogan from their shop, as well as bags and other resources for migrants, such as their excellent toolkit.
4) Donate the cost of Christmas cards–
If you want to save the planet, and help refugees who are at risk of being homeless in the UK- you can send e-cards instead, and donate the cost of cards and postage to the charity Refugees at Home, who like us, host destitute migrants in generous peoples spare rooms.
5) Buy someone a bike!
This wonderful project in the UK takes old, unwanted donated bikes, spruces them up and gives them to refugees and asylum seekers to get around their new communities. You can also buy secondhand refurbished bikes from them, and the money goes straight back into the project.
5) Donate to us at Sanctuary Hosting!
Ok so this is donating, not shopping! But, a donation will help us to offer someone a safe place to sleep at a crucial time in their life. They will be offered Sanctuary: a proper bed to sleep on, and a door they can close for some peace and privacy. This won’t solve all their problems, but it will give them some breathing space while they tackle their most pressing issues.
We have calculated that each person costs us about £10 a night to accommodate and on top of that we provide a small allowance to most of our guests to buy food, toiletries and maybe a bus pass. Quite a Christmas gift! We believe this represents excellent value for money, and we thank you for helping us to provide sanctuary to those who really need it in this way.