Everyone loves an advent calendar to count down the days to Christmas, and in our house we are certainly no different.
Most children love the Advent Calendar because it gets them excited at the thought that Santa is coming to visit. Although the way my children have been this year, I’m not sure he is going stopping by our house!
Did you know that approximately 1 in 20 people in the UK rely on food banks to help them afford their weekly food requirements, and this is just really sad. If this many people can’t afford food, then presents are probably just a distant dream.
With this in mind, this year we have decided to start a new tradition in our family, which will also provide a valuable lesson for our children. We are going to start a Reverse Advent Calendar in order to give something back to our local community.
What is the reverse advent calendar?
Instead of taking a chocolate from a calendar every day, the Reverse Advent Calendar is where we will add an item of food, toys or clothes to a basket every day for a month. The idea is that you are giving a month’s worth of food and useful items rather than consuming food yourself.
Once you have put a months worth of items in a basket or bag, you take the food to your local food, clothes bank or community centre and allow them to pass the items on to people that need it most.
We are going to start our Reverse Advent Calendar mid November otherwise there won’t be enough time to distribute the food to those who need it most. This will mean we complete our calendar on the 18th December, just in time for Christmas.
What should be included in a Reverse Advent Calendar?
Different charities will ask for different kinds of items but generally speaking you should be collecting either clothes and toiletries, toys or food. We have decided that this year we will be collecting for the local food bank.
Here are some suggestions to put in your Reverse Advent Calendar:
- Dolls, teddy bears, figurines
- Pencils, crayons, paper, colouring books
- Hats, gloves, scarves
- T shirts, jumpers
- Arts and crafts, jigsaws
- Bath towels, hand towels, blankets
- Tinned goods such as fruit, tuna, baked beans, copped tomatoes.
- Cans or (plastic) bottles of fizzy or still drinks
- Chocolate and sweets
- Biscuits and crackers
- Crisps and savoury snacks
Just remember that food items should have a reasonable ‘best before date’ so that food items will not go to waste in January.
Where to take your Reverse Advent Calendar
Before you start your advent calendar, it’s worth thinking out where you will take your items. for example if you are going to take your items to a food bank, then make sure you only put items in your basket.
If you don’t know where to take your items or can’t find anywhere local, then you can contact these charitable organisations who can help you.
- Crisis.org for food and clothes
- FareShare for food
- Salvation Army for toys and gifts
- Great Ormond Street Hospital for games
- The Trussell Trust for food
- Samaritans for toys and toiletries
- Barnardo’s for toys, toiletries
- The British Heart Foundation for toys and clothing
We are really excited about this initiative, and hope that as many people take part as possible. Wouldn’t it be a fantastic thing if 20% of the UK population took part in the Reverse Advent Calendar every year.
That would certainly go a long way to helping more people enjoy their Christmas just that little bit more.
Please share this initiative with your friends and family and lets make a real difference for those that need it most.
High & Wise