For the second year running I will be taking part in the UK Money Bloggers #FoodbankAdvent. This is also known as a Reverse Advent Calendar and it’s a great way to donate to those in need this Christmas. Read on to learn what the food bank advent is and how you can get involved.
This campaign was started by the UK Money Bloggers community in 2017 as a way to help the UK food banks in their greatest time of need. Of course it’s always a good idea to donate to the food banks when you can, but the need for their services drastically increases in the weeks leading up to Christmas so they need substantially more donations to meet this increase in demand for their services.
No one should go hungry, especially in the UK and especially at Christmas.
You can read more about the campaign below and also at the official UK Money Bloggers blog post here: No one should go hungry at Christmas
What is a Reverse Advent Calendar?
Rather than opening an advent calendar and treating yourself every day for 25 days, the idea is to reverse the treat and instead donate an item to the foodbank every day for 25 days.
Of course you don’t need to go to the foodbank every single day for 25 days, but instead collect 25 items in a box or bag and then donate the whole lot when you are ready.
It doesn’t strictly have to be 25 items. More or less is fine - whatever you can afford to donate.
You can also collect them all at once or do it each day if you like.
It’s entirely up to you. The most important thing is making a donation to the foodbank to support those in their time of need. The Trussell Trust typically sees a 45% increase in referrals for their emergency parcels in the fortnight before Christmas.
Don’t wait until December! Start your Reverse Advent Calendar in November
It takes the food banks time to collect and sort through all the donations, so the sooner you can get started, the better.
It’s ideal to collect your items in November and donate them ready for December which is the food banks busiest month.
We have already started our Reverse Advent Calendar this week and have popped one item in an empty shoebox.
Once full, we will take our donations to our local drop off point at Tesco. You can drop off directly at your local food bank or they have many collections in local stores too if this is easier.
Get the family involved in a Reverse Advent Calendar
Bella and I did the Reverse Advent Calendar last year and we will do the same again this year. Bella is seven and it’s great to teach her how lucky we are to be able to afford the food we need and that others sometimes need our help as they can’t afford to eat. I think it’s a really good campaign to get kids involved in.
Bella is already reminding me to get something for the box next time I go to the shops. We will buy a few extra items on each of our next food shops especially for the box.
Our 2018 Reverse Advent Calendar
What do the food banks need?
You can also look through your cupboards to see if you have anything suitable.
Just remember it needs to be dried food with a long shelf life or toiletries to be suitable.
It’s a great idea to find your local food bank website to see exactly what they need. Their website will list the items they really need. This will save you buying something especially for them if they are already overrun with that item. It’s good to donate the items they are in need of.
For example, here are the items our local Gloucester food bank is in need of and those they aren’t:
Urgently needed food items in order of scarcity
- Long life fruit juice (not chilled)
- Long life milk (not chilled)
- Instant mash potato
- Tinned ready meals
- Tinned cold meat (e.g.ham/corned beef)
- Tinned fish
- Tinned potatoes
- Single tooth brushes
We've got plenty of these items, in order of abundance
- Dry pasta & spaghetti
- Ladies sanitary wear
As you can see, it’s a good idea to check your local food bank website as I would have otherwise added pasta and soup as these are automatic items I think of for the food bank. Now I won’t give them these, but I will shop for exactly what they do need to help them even more.
If you do get involved that’s amazing news! Everyone is sharing on social media using the hashtag #FoodbankAdvent.