As a kid I loved my annual advent calendar. I loved seeing what picture I’d get behind the door and what chocolate I would be eating. As an adult I haven’t bothered with an advent calendar in years, never saw the point. Well this year that’s changing but I won’t be opening the doors, I’ll be doing a reverse advent calendar instead.
What The Chuff Is A Reverse Advent Calendar?
A reverse advent calendar is basically what the name says it is. Rather than taking something each day from a calendar I’ll be adding something to a box which I’ll then be donating to a local food bank.
This idea was suggested as the annual “giving back” campaign by the UK Money Bloggers. So I’ll be joining a few other bloggers across the country in helping improve someone’s life, even if it is only for a few days.
What Do You Put In A Box For A Food Bank?
Really this is up to you, the basics are best. Tinned and packet foods that have long expiration dates are a great start. Foods that can be used for more than one meal or are versatile work well. If you’re planning on including tinned foods then ones with ring pulls are most useful, not everyone will have a tin opener.
Non-food items can also be included, everyday items such as toothpaste, soap and loo roll. Personal hygiene products are also welcomed.
I’m personally including pet food in my boxes too, not everyone thinks of potential pets when it comes to food banks.
Fresh items aren’t recommended, don’t include anything that has a short expiration and might go off before it’s handed out.
How Can You Help?
The obvious way to help is to join me, and the UK Money Bloggers, and take part in your own reverse advent calendar. You can use what’s already in your cupboards and help declutter them in time for Christmas or you can pop out and buy the items you want for it.
Involve The Family
It’s a great way to get the whole family involved. You can talk to your children about how some people need a little help sometimes, the reasons they might need help and how we can help them – what kinds of foods to include. They can decorate the box, especially with Christmas approaching, and make their box look fun rather than just a box. They can also help put the items in the box.
Pitch In Together
Encourage your place of work, a local group, local community or child’s school to get involved. A couple of items each is all that’s needed which makes it much more affordable.
Share. Share. Share.
If you can’t help right now, for whatever reason, then simply sharing this post is help enough. The more people that see the campaign the more who are likely to join in. Sharing this on your Facebook, Twitter or with friends/family is a great way to help.
How Am I Helping?
As said above, I will be taking part in the campaign this year. On Wednesday 1st November I will be adding one item to my box each day for 25 days. Then, around the 1st December, I’ll be taking that box to a local food bank. You can follow my campaign over on Instagram where I’ll be posting all my updates (they also automatically share to Facebook and Twitter). You can also follow other people doing this campaign using the hashtag #FoodBankAdvent.
In addition to this, I have also set up a Just Giving page. The aim of this is for anyone who wants to help this cause (but doesn’t have the time) to be able to donate a £1 or two and I’ll then use that to either increase what goes in my box or to make more boxes. Each box will be around £25 as I aim for each item to be around £1 (some are more, some are less). So if you’d like to help in that way then that’s amazing.
I’ll post an update at the end of the campaign with images, totals and a personal thank you to everyone who donates (should you leave your name). If you are a blogger reading this and want to donate then please also leave your URL so I can link the thanks back to you.
The Just Giving page can be found HERE! It closes on the 1st December to give enough time for anyone who wants to donate after I filled my own box.
I’m also running this on my other blog, Modern Money Life, so make sure you pop over to that post where I’ve included ways you can take part without it costing too much.
Below you can also find a help sheet giving you an idea of what you can put in each day, with additional items. This is basically what my box will consist of, though there might be some last minute changes. Feel free to download/print this – just click it to make it bigger.
You can find a local food bank via the Trussell Trust Organisation and they’re happy to accept donations at any time. If you are planning on doing a reverse advent calendar then remember that some food banks only operate a couple of times a week (Xmas Eve is a Sunday this year). The volunteers need time to sort your donation and distribute it.
Let Me Know
If you decide to take part in this campaign then please feel free to tag me in any posts/photos etc. I’d love to see what you are doing. If you have any questions then please feel free to leave them below in the comments and I’ll answer them the best I can.