Get involved: Reverse Advent Calendar

Reverse Advent Calendar

This year I’m once again joining the #foodbankadvent with a very worthy idea adapted from a conversation I had with Josh Butten at Boosst last year. Starting on the 1st December, I’ll be going about making a reverse advent calendar. The very simple premise is that every day in December I will set aside a non-perishable food item (last year I used one of Mrs B’s baskets for the task) and then, when convenient I’ll drop them off at a local food bank. 

I love the simplicity and effectiveness of this idea, an antidote to Christmas consumerism and the hundreds of messages encouraging consumption we’re all wading through at this time of year. 

If you’ve got children, this is the perfect way to gently involve them in the act of giving and sharing and it’s a good way to reflect on how lucky we are. 

If you’re wondering about the importance of food banks, then this post from Much More with Less has some sobering statistics, and also nine tips for creating a reverse advent calendar which I’ve dropped below: 

Tips for a reverse advent calendar

  • Think long life items such as tins, jars and packets of dried food. 
  • Remember food banks don’t only supply food: many give out essentials such as toiletries, sanitary protection and baby supplies too
  • Check what your local food bank actually needs, via their website or Facebook page. They might be swimming in baked beans and drowning in pasta, but desperate for tinned meat and fish.
  • Remember that those who can’t afford food probably can’t afford to have the oven on for hours either, or may not have access to cooking facilities. That’s why pre-prepared food (eg cuppa soup, tins of soup, pasta sauces) or food that doesn’t need cooking (eg tinned meat, cereal, biscuits) are so helpful.
  • Avoid alcohol and food that might go off before it can be distributed, which might mean, for example, no Christmas puddings or mince pies
  • Don’t dump weird and wonderful food you don’t want to eat yourself. If you didn’t fancy the jar of maraschino cherries or tin of stuffed vine leaves going dusty at the back of your cupboard, why would anyone else?
  • Spread the word. Tell people what you’re doing, share on social media, set up a collection box at work, and encourage others to donate too.
  • Aim to drop off your donation well before December 25, so there is time for it to be sorted and distributed. Many food banks only operate part time. 
  • Consider donating money instead. Setting up a standing order to your local food bank provides a regular reliable source of income, which can then be spent where it is most needed.

I hope this idea encourages you to take part, I’d love to hear from you if so.



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