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Our Lockdown Coffees Can Keep Us Awake To Justice

Through a new campaign, Give Back, more fortunate Kiwis are giving back their lockdown savings to support charities at the frontlines responding to the covid-19 fall-out. The campaign can be found at www.givesomeback.nz. “Covid has wreaked havoc for many across Aotearoa”, says Selwyn Coles, one of the organisers behind the Give Back campaign. “But some of us are more fortunate and may even have saved money during the periods of lockdown”.

After all, while we we’re stuck at home, we weren’t eating out, buying coffee, going to the gym, or driving to work. So, Selwyn urges, why not turn our loss into an opportunity for generosity? “Our normal Friday Fish & Chips can feed families. Our suspended gym membership can give others strength. The night out we missed with the mates can support our rangatahi”. In short, the team behind the campaign asks anyone in the position to give to consider giving back to people and communities who need the money more.

The campaign partners with several established charities. The Auckland City Mission, Youthline, and the Women’s Refuge are onboard so far, and Selwyn adds that otherwise will likely join soon. These charities are working in key problems areas that have been exacerbated by covid-19, such as food insecurity, housing, mental health and domestic violence.

The Give Back website makes it easy for people to calculate what they did not spend during lockdown, and then directs people to Givealittle pages to make a donation. It focusses on areas such as transport, coffees, beers, meals out, and gym memberships. Selwyn stresses that the numbers can quickly add up to create a powerful movement of generosity. He gives his coffee habit as an example. “I normally buy around 5 coffees a week, for an average cost of $5, or $25 a week”. But that spending stopped during the two periods level 4, and for most of level 3 as well. Selwyn continues, “Over 8 weeks that comes to an incredible $200. That is a lot of money, and it only seems right to give some back to people who need it more than I do”.

The team behind the campaign are also working on an innovative new app, Give Better, which they say will make it possible to give more, save more and learn to savour the moment. The app encourages Kiwis to redirect their ‘meh’ spending — spending that is failing to bring them much joy — and give and save the money through the app instead. They say Give Better also promotes a financial mindfulness, through which people learn to savour, or to enjoy, their purchases more than they did previously. The website can be found at www.givebetter.nz.

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