Don’t get me wrong. We all deserve to be nourished throughout the year. But as it edges ever so closely to Christmas, I am reminded that a lot of families will have this added pressure of finding something extra special to eat (never mind the basics) at Christmas.
Last year I heard about and participated for the first time in the Reverse Advent Calendar campaign. I found this to be such a clever idea that would ensure that other families and individuals who might otherwise have to struggle to get food on the table, do actually have something to eat at Christmas.
What is the Reverse advent calendar?
Well, a regular advent calendar has windows that are opened each day leading up to Christmas. Behind each window, there is usually a treat like chocolate or sweets.
With the reverse advent calendar, however, the aim is to actually give something away or be prepared to give something away on the days leading up to Christmas.
When is the best time to do this
In order to make sure you have the items ready to be given to the charity, it is best to plan it well and give them some time to do their own organising. We strongly suggest collecting the items and getting ready to hand them over by mid-December.
Not many charities will be open and staffed enough to be able to sort through donations on the 25th. I would say that by mid-December, is a good time to hand it over.
Here is why I think it is a genius idea
- anyone can do it, even children can get involved
- there is a massive feel-good factor, knowing you are helping others to have a good Christmas
- if everyone did it, there would be no one who has to go without at Christmas.
- the supplies you give at this time of the year, should last well into the new year and keep on giving.
How to participate
It is entirely up to you how you actually source the items that you would like to donate. The overall aim is to have a lovely box, basket or hamper of items that could serve a family well over Christmas. For example, you could do one shopping trip and purchase some items to donate. You could shop from your store cupboards for things you could donate, and you could also add a couple of extra items to your shopping list each time you go shopping and then add it to your hamper.
If you are planning to donate the items to a food bank, you will have to think about items that will last a reasonable amount of time and that don’t require refrigeration to be kept safe.
It’s good to be really thoughtful and choose items that you yourself, or your family would use. I say this because sometimes people are tempted to get and give the cheapest quality products that they would not use themselves. I personally think this is poor taste, don’t you?
The need came close to home for me
I found out a few years ago that my brother who lived thousands of miles from me actually lost everything he had including his home, cars, his business, and his job. He found himself homeless, and at the mercy of a homeless shelter and those who supported the charity.
It hit me then that this is something that could happen to the best of us. I am not nearly as rich as he was, and so it would be much easier for me, with a few negative turns of events, to find myself having to rely on others for food and basic supplies.
Ever since then I have been determined to be supportive of others in need and I would want the same for myself too. He is fine now by the way.
So when you think of what to give, think as if you were shopping for yourself.
It is recommended that you think of other items outside of the box too. So items like toiletries, socks, and gloves would be appreciated.
Here is a list of what we have set aside so far for our hamper this year:
Pot noodles (exotic flavours)
Long life milk
We haven’t done any crochet at all this year as things have been so hectic (not complaining) but we do have some scarves and blankets left from last year that we can give too.
Where to donate the lot
You can check if there is a charity near you that has a food bank or a shelter. People always ask churches for help too, so if you wanted to donate the food to a church near to you, I am sure they would not turn you back.
I have also noticed in the supermarkets near me that they have drop-off points for foodstuff for people and their pets. Don’t forget that some people are attached to their pets and won’t give them up even though they struggle to feed them.
How else could you help
- Share this post from UK Money Bloggers with others so that they can participate in this venture. Please use #FoodBankAdvent on social media.
- Encourage your family members to take part
- Visit a charity or food bank close to you to see how they operate, what items they need, and also how they distribute stuff. Be sure to ask for permission before you try taking any photographs as some volunteers don’t want it and you wouldn’t want to annoy them, would you?
- Pray/send good wishes for all those who rely on our generosity and ability to give and also to volunteers who help in all the ways necessary.
Have you ever had to rely on others because you could not take care of your own basic needs? Do you think the #FoodBankAdvent is a good idea? I hope so. In any case, let us know what you think and also share any other items you think would be vital in a hamper.