It’s Christmas time but we are cold and hungry. It hasn’t always been this way. In fact, before Dad was diagnosed with cancer, we had some of the best Christmases ever! We had gifts, food, and clothes. And we gave to charity. In fact, every year we would pack a large hamper of foodstuff to give to our local food bank. Little did we dream that one day we would be in need of one of those food hampers for Christmas. And we don’t want luxury items. We just want enough to feed our family of 4. We don’t want luxury. But we don’t want to starve over Christmas.
It might be difficult for you to believe but up and down the country, this sort of story repeats itself over and over in thousands of homes. Some of these families are facing what seems like an impossible uphill task. But this is where you and I come in. You can participate in the reverse advent calendar program to help.
This year we are participating in the reverse advent calendar and I invite you to participate too. Do you remember opening all 25 windows or pockets on your advent calendar leading up to Christmas Day when you were a child? Wasn’t it fun? Wasn’t it exciting for you? Well, imagine the happiness felt by your parents that they could provide something so simple for you. With the reverse advent calendar idea, you will feel a sense of pride that you are able to help other parents and their kids too. After all, Christmas is more about spreading love and giving right? Right!
How Does the Reverse Calendar Work?
So here is how it works. By simply putting one non-perishable food item into a box each day for 25 consecutive days, you can then present said box to your local food bank. Don’t know where your nearest local food bank is? Well, here is a map that outlines where your nearest food bank is. Some churches also have programs where they collect food for the poor and needy. We encourage you to share photos of your hamper and how it is shaping up on our facebook page.. We will be sharing ours too so you can check them out and even make suggestions as to what you think would be suitable additions.
Get the kids Involved in Preparing the Reverse Calendar
Take it as an opportunity to talk to your kids about giving and sharing to those in need and involve them in this worthy venture. Afterall, many families, due to job loss, redundancies, government cuts, and medical care needs will not be able to provide meals for their families throughout the festive season. Some of your children’s friends and their families may be struggling this Christmas. Making it real and closer to home for them will make them see the need and be more involved in this charitable activity. Who knows, you may just be instilling some valuable life skills.
What can I add to the Reverse Calendar?
Think about what types of foods can last for months ( food banks still deliver food throughout the year). Canned and bottled foods are suitable. Don’t forget to add some treats for the little ones, so sweets and chocolate are welcome ideas. You may want to pack your box or hamper so that it has what one family may need to make several meals throughout the season, or you may choose to fill your hamper with one or two particular items so that they can be distributed to several families. It’s the giving that counts, so make sure that the items are usable, and have a long best before date.
Here are some items that are affordable and that could form part of your donation. They’re sold on Amazon. If you like, you could order some or all of these.
When is the Best Time to Begin?
The reason this program is called the reverse calendar is that you are not receiving the gifts each day, but actually giving a gift each day to someone else. There’s another little difference too. You will need to give the food bank enough time to organize themselves to get the hampers to the families before Christmas. So instead of preparing the hamper at the beginning of December, here at Joleisa, we encourage you to make November 1, the first day you start filling the hamper. That means that you will have enough time to hand over the hamper before December begins, giving the food bank enough time to organize getting the hampers out to families.
Get Others on Board With the Reverse Advent Calendar
Have we sold this simple idea to you yet? Well done! Now be a good neighbour and get your friends on board. You can point them in the direction of this post or the work that this organisation does. I think that would be such a good cause. Not only are you feeding others, but the feel-good factor is quite a pick me up too. What about making a trip to your local food bank with a friend or two and finding out exactly what items are in demand? Share pics of your food bank (no faces please unless expressed permission is given) and your donations on our Joleisa facebook page.
The Idea of the Reverse Advent Calendar is Universal
Are there people in your community who can do with a basket of food this Christmas? That means this program is doable, wherever you are. I can just hear the angels singing Hallelujah at the sight of all the parcels of food that will be provided for people in need. Who knows, one day, you may just be the recipient of one these parcels, so make sure to put in there what you would appreciate for yourself.
The Important Details
Decide that you want to help others this christmas by donating some food to your local food bank.
Make it in the form of a reverse advent calendar where’s ou add at least one item of food each day.
Get others involved too.
Present the basket you have put together to your nearest Food bank. Make sure to give them enough time to deliver them to deserving families before Christmas.
Share your photos on our Facebook page.