It’s officially November, so I think it’s safe to start the Christmas chat! Being kind and encouraging others to do the same is a huge priority of mine all year round, especially as a parent with impressionable little eyes watching me, but I think Christmas especially gives us so many brilliant opportunities to bring a little joy to someone else’s life. We are in an incredibly privileged position in that we have a warm home to live in and a fridge full of food, and I believe that if you’re able to help someone who might not be as fortunate then you should seize that opportunity. It’s so important to remember that even the smallest acts of kindness can great huge amounts of joy. In previous years we have used our Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar which is great inspiration if you’re looking for some small festive and young child appropriate RAOK ideas. This month though we are trying something new, and doing a Reverse Advent Calendar.
For December this year I just purchased a handmade RAOK advent calendar from an incredible lady on Instagram who is raising vital funds for the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital Charity Maternity Bereavement Team after her beautiful son Jude was born sleeping at 41 weeks. You can order via her Instagram page @jen_l_wht if you’d like to support what she’s doing.
Reverse Advent Calendar
A Reverse Advent Calendar is really just that. You start with a box, and instead of opening a door and taking out a treat each day, you place a treat or an item into it. Once the box is full you donate it to your local food bank, and the contents will find their way to someone who really needs them this Christmas.
My Reverse Advent Calendar contains 30 items – one for each day of November, but if you aren’t in a position to donate so much then why not contribute whatever you can. Any donations at all will make a huge difference to someone over Christmas.
How Do We Do It?
It’s so simple – each day pop something into your box! Whether you have a look in your cupboards and see what you can spare, you add a few things to your shopping list for your next food shop, or you ask family & friends to give you anything they have to pop in it should be pretty simple to fill your box up.
When Do We Start?
It’s important to start your Reverse Advent Calendar in November, because it needs to reach the food bank by the beginning of December in order to be sorted and distributed to families. If you don’t get round to it, or you want to make another donation in December then of course donating at any time is hugely appreciated by all food banks and it will probably be given out in the new year. The food bank we usually donate to (Thetford) advised me that their last warehouse session before Christmas is Monday 17th December, but check with yours to see when they’d ideally like your donations by.
What Do We Put In It?
Ideally you would send your local food bank a quick message (they usually have responsive Facebook pages where they also post lists of that they need) and ask what they specifically need/are low on. I’ve created this calendar based on things that are generally always needed by food banks at this time of year (as suggested by a few local to me) so you can either print it out and follow the suggestion for each day or make a list of your local food banks needs, and cross items off as you add them in.
Stick to mostly long life/tinned items and things that don’t need to be refrigerated. Also worth thinking about including some ‘free from’ items if you’re able to (they are expensive I know) for food bank clients who may be dealing with food allergies currently, or non food items like personal hygiene products, shower gel/shampoo, toilet roll and pet food. Just make sure all items are new, unopened and in date.
I hope this is useful for everyone, and even if you don’t use this calendar it encourages you to have a go at a Reverse Advent Calendar, or make a few donations to your local food bank. So many families truly rely on food banks, and your donations could genuinely make someone’s Christmas. Let me know if you do try it this month – tag me on social media or use #FoodBankAdvent and #ReverseAdventCalendar