Chiva’s Black Friday Shopping List

Black Friday is upon us and our Communications and Administration Officer Elaine White is no stranger to online shopping, not just now but all year round. But the purchases she makes from her desk at the Chiva office serve a very different purpose. 

We know that many children and young adults living with HIV are more likely to find themselves in times of hardship, with little money to support themselves or afford very basic necessities. This is why we at Chiva have a hardship support service, providing practical help for those with critical needs.

My role in supporting this programme is to purchase essential items and get them delivered to families. It can take some time to find exactly what is needed and make sure it’s delivered safely.

Here’s what our Black Friday shopping cart might look like, a list of just a few purchases I’ve made on behalf of young people in need this year. 


This is the most frequent request. In partnership with The Food Chain, we provide food deliveries to those in need. This has included refugees, families escaping domestic violence, and young adults who are living alone and not able to work due to physical or mental health or learning difficulties. In very urgent situations, we can provide a supermarket voucher to tide them over until a delivery can be arranged. 


We also book travel in order for young people to be able to access HIV clinic appointments and occasionally support group meet-ups. Transport can be expensive and it isn’t always possible for families and individuals to get where they need to be without support.

Kitchen appliances (cookers, fridges, washing machines)

One example of this is when we purchased and arranged the installation of a cooker for a young adult who lost all his possessions when his flat was broken into. He was moved into new accommodation, but it didn’t come with any white goods or furniture. 

Mattresses and bedding

We recently purchased a foldable mattress for a young person who was sleeping on the floor, as there wasn’t space for a proper mattress.  We have also purchased an anti-allergy duvet and pillows for a young adult who was struggling with allergic reactions. 

Kitchen starter kit

We sometimes buy this for young adults who have spent time in the hospital and have been moved into new housing following discharge from hospital.

School uniform

This helps families struggling with the costs of the new term, and ensures a young person can start the school year on time. 

Mobile phones

Mobile phones are essential for communication and especially for keeping in touch with clinic teams. We purchased a pay-as-you-go mobile for a young person as their clinic was struggling to contact them. She didn’t have her own mobile and there was a language barrier with her parent/carer. Buying a mobile phone for her  ensured she could access her clinic team.


Many young adults receiving support from Chiva live alone. Some arrived in the UK as unaccompanied minors, others have become estranged from their families. They can face significant challenges managing living independently. Items such as new clothing, a warm winter coat, or smart clothes for a job interview can be beyond their reach. Chiva has provided essential clothing for young people in these circumstances.

With Black Friday weekend upon us and a time of excessive shopping running until Christmas, it’s important to remember that not everyone has enough to meet their needs. 

You can read more about our hardship support provision here. You could also consider donating to Chiva to support the programme and our other support work this Giving Tuesday.