James Corden, Jameela Jamil, Chris O'Dowd Fete Choose Love Charity Pop-Up in WeHo

Chris O'Dowd and James Corden and Jameela Jamil and Josie Naughton attend Choose Love Launches In Los Angeles Split -H 2019
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Choose Love

Says Jamil, “Nobody is getting anything from me this Christmas other than what I bought in their name at Choose Love."

For Giving Tuesday, some of the U.K.’s most familiar faces — including James Corden, Annabelle Wallis and Jameela Jamil — congregated in West Hollywood in support of Choose Love, a philanthropic pop-up store providing direct support to refugees in Europe, the Middle East and on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Leading the charge was Bridesmaids actor Chris O’Dowd, who hosted the Tuesday event alongside his wife, British author and Choose Love co-founder Dawn O’Porter, and The Mummy actress Wallis. All three were clad in Choose Love apparel (T-shirts for O’Dowd and Wallis and a sweatshirt for O'Porter) created by British fashion designer Katharine Hamnett.

“It can hard to know how to help sometimes,” said O’Dowd, who recently won a Creative Arts Emmy for SundanceTV’s State of the Union, to The Hollywood Reporter. “The plight of refugees may well be the humanitarian crisis of our times. It’s reassuring to know that everything spent in Choose Love stores, and online, goes directly to those who need it. From survival basics like blankets and hot meals to ongoing medical and legal aid, you can choose exactly how you help, which feels great.”

Situated just around the corner from Melrose Place — which boasts some of the world’s most luxurious brands, including Balmain, Chloe and Oscar de la Renta — Choose Love is filled with items ranging from blankets and bags to a tiny pair of child’s snow boots. The bags hold sleep sacks, designed to keep refugees warm during freezing winter nights, and the blankets are made of foil — to help those who’ve made the journey across water insulate heat when they first disembark.

The idea is that no matter how much customers spend, they walk away empty-handed. Instead, items purchased are sent to someone in need. Gift cards — many featuring photographs of refugees who have been helped by Choose Love — are available for those who want to donate on behalf of someone else. It’s a concept that touches not only on philanthropy, but also on an increasing awareness of sustainability and minimalism.

“Since day one, I have been obsessed with this charity,” Jamil, of NBC’s The Good Place, told THR. “It’s a brilliant, powerful organization, and the idea for this store might be the best one I’ve heard of.”

After examining the many items on display, such as emergency life rings, food and winter clothes, Jameel opted for 10 “Bundles of Love” ($120), a package that includes a hot shower, sanitary products and a tent. “Nobody is getting anything from me this Christmas other than what I bought in their name at Choose Love,” Jamil added. “I’m deadly serious. We are a generation living in so much excess. We have more than we need already. This Christmas, and generally all year round, we should be thinking of and sharing with those who haven’t even got the basics.”

Along with practical objects, customers can also fund more intangible items such as legal advice, mental health care and LGBTQ support for refugees, many of whom have fled their countries because of intolerance. O’Porter, who has visited the city of Calais in France — the last stop for many refugees attempting to reach Britain — was moved by the scenes she witnessed in the “Calais Jungle,” as the French refugee camp has been nicknamed.

“I saw a mother rinse her baby in a puddle. You can't see that and do nothing,” she told THR. “They often need such simple things: sanitary supplies for teenage girls and women, diapers for babies, dry boots to wear after days of being in pouring rain with no shelter. We are all so lucky to live the way we do, it's OK to enjoy it and be grateful, but we have to do what we can to help others who are in a terrible situation like that, and all because of where they were born.”

O’Porter launched Choose Love (known in Europe as Help Refugees) in 2015 alongside former music manager Josie Naughton (who has worked with Coldplay), and British radio host Lliana Bird. Over a lunch in London, the three women were so shocked by the plight of those fleeing countries such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Syria and attempting to reach Europe that they vowed to donate essential items. With the help of their starry network, the organization has expanded to the U.S., where it works with refugees on the U.S.-Mexican border, attracting the support of Hollywood stars including Reese Witherspoon and Lena Dunham.

“Choose Love is a movement and we have relied on people of influence from the beginning to help us spread this message and galvanize support,” Naughton told THR. “Without stars like Oprah and Julia Roberts wearing the Choose Love T-shirt, for example, we would never have been able to support 1 million people. We know that people at home want to help but they don’t always know how and we hope the stores give them that chance.”

Hamnett's T-shirts and sweaters are emblazoned with the organization’s logo and are some of the few items you can take home. All products are organic, Fair Trade and paraben free, with T-shirts starting at $30 and sweaters at $45. (Corden, who attended with his wife, interior designer Julia Carey, was spotted throwing one on as soon as he arrived in the store.)

As well as a Los Angeles branch located at 611 N. La Cienega, Choose Love has also opened pop-ups in New York, on 499 Broadway, and in the heart of London’s West End. They're open until Dec. 24.