She's setting an example.
The CEO of Co-op, one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains has made an important statement about excess at a time when many families are struggling in the UK.
The Daily Mail reports that Shirine Khoury-Haq, the head of a company with over 3900 retail locations says she’s giving her twin, six-year-old daughters one present each this Christmas because she could not “in good conscience” give them more while millions of families struggle with inflation and high energy prices.
Khoury-Haq makes over £1 million ($1,190,000) a year after bonuses, so she pledged to give her family's present money to those in need. “It just feels like excess, given what’s happening in the world. In good conscience, I can’t do that in my own home,” Khoury-Haq said according to The Guardian.
“The rest of our budget will be given to Santa to provide presents for children whose parents can’t contribute to the elves,” she continued. “We’re going to go out shopping for those other presents and [we will] send them to Santa.”
\u201cInstead of an ad, this Christmas @coopuk is focussing on supporting @yourlocalpantry, community fridges with @hubbubUK, Caboodle, The Peer Action Collective through @YouthEndowFund and other great organisations that are making a real impact in their communities. \ud83d\udc99\ud83c\udf84\ud83d\udc99\u201d— Shirine Khoury-Haq (@Shirine Khoury-Haq) 1669505085
According to the Sunday Times, one of her daughters would like a Paw Patrol toy and the other, a Barbie.
Much like America, people in the UK are having financial hardships as inflation reaches a 40-year high. They are also dealing with exorbitant energy prices. Through July, natural gas prices in the UK were up 96% and electricity was up 54%.
Khoury-Haq’s company has also made sacrifices this holiday season to help those who are less fortunate. Co-op has decided to hand over all of its holiday advertising budget to Your Local Pantry shops. These community-based pantries across the UK are places where people can pay as little as £3.50 ($4.20) a week to take at least ten grocery items.
“Whilst many of our competitors are also adapting their Christmas ads to reflect the mood of the nation in a cost of living crisis, we are going further by pulling our ad altogether,” Khoury-Haq said according to Retail Gazette.
\u201cThis Christmas season, we're so happy and to be working with @coopuk to support our network of Pantries.\u201d— Your Local Pantry (@Your Local Pantry) 1668688201
“In doing so we will be shining a light on the need to support vital community causes, throughout the year and not just at Christmas, especially with a deep recession looming,” she continued.
Through their partnership, the Co-op and Your Local Pantry hope to help over 32,000 households over the next three years, saving them nearly £5 million ($5,980,000) on shopping bills.
Khoury-Haq’s decision to give her kids one gift each on Christmas may not save everyone in the UK from their financial troubles but it sends an important message that people who are well off should consider. When millions of people are hurting, it’s not the time to flaunt your wealth or spoil your kids. Her gesture is a great reminder that hopefully inspires others to give as well.
When the going gets tough, it’s time for those who can afford it to be a great example to their kids and society-at-large by giving when people need it most. Because in the end, the spirit of giving is the true meaning of the holiday season.