Last updated in November 2020
Make your own foodbank reverse advent calendar. Christmas is the time of the year when giving is most important. However, many people are focused on gifting and receiving expensive presents. Money has become more and more important.
This year, it is time to make a change. Christmas is a great opportunity to make a difference to your community. And helping those in need is easier than you may think. A foodbank reverse Advent Calendar is cheap to do and little effort. Why don’t you try it this year?
Table of Contents
Why you should make a foodbank reverse advent calendar
What is a foodbank reverse advent calendar?
With ordinary Advent Calendars, also known as Christmas Calendars, you get a little present every day in December until Christmas. A reverse Advent Calendar is the opposite of this. Instead of receiving, you are donating (giving) something.
What you are donating is up to but a foodbank reverse Advent Calendar is the most popular choice. This is because everyone needs food, especially during the winter months. Foodbanks are always in need of food so your donations are always welcome.
Of course, you can donate during other times and do not need to wait until Christmas.
How do foodbanks work?
Foodbanks collect food donated by the public. You may have already noticed their collection points in supermarkets, schools, churches, and sometimes businesses. When this food reaches the foodbanks, volunteers sort through everything and make emergency food parcels.
These food parcels commonly contain three days’ worth of nutritionally-balanced food. They are distributed to people in need who are identified by Citizens Advice, social workers, school staff, and other professionals.
These referrers will then give the person in need a voucher which can be exchanged for food parcels at the foodbank. Often, they also offer help and advice so that the person can overcome their crisis.
Why should you make one?
Making a foodbank reverse Advent Calendar is one of the best things you can do this Christmas. Most of us already have enough stuff. We have more food than we can eat and our houses are filled with junk. Therefore, instead of adding more, donating and helping those in need is important.
Monethalia is a blog that helps people save money to reach financial independence, retire early (FIRE). Thus, you may think encouraging people to donate is not in line with this goal. However, FIRE does not mean journeying forward without looking left and right. Instead, it is a lifestyle characterised by a frugal, anti-consumerism lifestyle.
I strongly believe that to live a truly happy and fulfilled life, donating and helping others is a vital part. After all, if you helping others, you are more likely to be helped by others if you need it. Plus, you can make a difference and someone’s mood will brighten up because of your impact.
Obviously, if you are struggling yourself, making a foodbank reverse Advent Calendar should not be your priority. If you have items that you do not need, you can donate it. However, it would probably make more sense to sell them to improve your situation. Donating does not run away, you can always start doing it once you have the means to do so.
How to make your own foodbank reverse advent calendar
Find a foodbank
First of all, you want to ensure you know where to deliver your food to. The easiest way is to look out for collection points which may be located at:
- Business centres
Supermarkets are the most convenient point to drop off your donations. After all, you can put them in the collection box straight from your shopping trolley. However, in supermarkets, you need to pay attention to what the box looks like. If it is open, anybody can just take your items.
I have occasionally seen people taking out items that others have donated. While I assume these people steal foodbank items because they are desperate, it is not the intended way of distribution. As a result, people who need the food more urgently and are undergoing the correct procedure, may not receive the food they need.
A more reliable way to donate food is to directly get in touch with your local foodbank. To find out where this is, you can enter the postcode on this website.
How much to donate
You can put into your foodbank reverse Advent Calendar whatever and however much you like. Perhaps you can donate one product per day or a couple. It is completely up to you and depends on how much money, time, and interest you have.
It is completely fine to donate only one product per day. Or even one product every few days. Every little bit helps.
What to put into your Advent Calendar
You can donate foods that do not easily perish. For example, fresh fruits and vegetables are not good choices. Because your donated products have to first be collected, then sorted and packed, some time can pass until they reach people in need. Thus, some foods may have gone off by then.
Other items you should not donate include alcohol or cigarettes. Vulnerable people are more at risk of developing an addiction and you do not want to make their situation worse. Potentially dangerous items such as razor blades could be another issue and should be avoided.
Here is a list of foods suitable for donation, directly taken from Leeds and North West foodbank:
- Tinned fruit
- Tinned vegetables
- Pasta sauce
- Long-life milk
- Long-life fruit juice
- Tinned or packet puddings
- Canned fish
- Tinned meat
- Packets of biscuits
- Rice, pasta or noodles
- Tinned Tomatoes
- Rice pudding
- Tinned custard
- At Christmas, chocolate is appreciated
In addition, you can also donate non-food items such as:
- Toiletries: Deodorant, toilet paper, shower gel, shaving gel, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand wipes
- Household items: Laundry liquid detergent, laundry powder, washing-up liquid
- Feminine products: Sanitary towels and tampons
- Baby supplies: Nappies, baby wipes and baby food
- Face masks and hand sanitiser
When to donate
When you bring your food items to your foodbank or collection point is up to you. Most people put their items in a box and deliver it a few days before Christmas or when they have time, sometimes even after Christmas.
Truth to be told, the donation time is not important because there will always be people in need. You could even do your foodbank reverse Advent Calendar in summer. Foodbanks will always be grateful for your help.
However, if you wish to include Christmas items or have your food parcels reach the people in need by Christmas, do not wait until Christmas Eve. Volunteers may be busy in the run-up to Christmas and not be able to sort through your donation in time. Plus, collection and delivery can also take a few days.
If you are flexible time wise, you may want to run your foodbank reverse Advent Calendar in November and deliver it in the first December days. This gives the volunteers at the foodbank plenty of time.
Therefore, it is important that you plan ahead and choose a day to deliver your donations. You can even call your foodbank beforehand to let them know of your plans. They will be able to advise you of suitable times.
Involving your children
If you have children, you can make creating a foodbank reverse Advent Calendar a fun activity for them. It is a great chance for your children to learn that Christmas is not only about receiving gifts but also about giving.
You can let your children choose the products you donate and take them to your local foodbank so they can see where the food ends up. You an also give them a blank sheet with 24 boxes and let them draw the item for more involvement.
If you are having trouble deciding what to put in your reverse Advent Calendar, I have created and example you may wish to follow:
- Long-life milk
- Peanut butter
- Tinned tomatoes
- Canned fruits
- Brown rice
- Tinned soup
- Olive oil
- Tinned carrots
- Fruit juice
- Shower gel
- Granola bars
- Tinned ravioli
- Toilet paper
- Mixed seeds
- Dried fruits
Of course, you do not have to follow this list. Feel free to replace items as you like. You can also include more than 24 items in your foodbank reverse Advent Calendar. For example, some people run their calendar from the first to last day in November.
Why you should make a foodbank reverse advent calendar summary
A foodbank reverse Advent Calendar is a Christmas Calendar characterised by giving instead of receiving presents. For each day up to Christmas, you donate food items or other products to your local foodbank. This helps people in need to get through the Christmas period and helps to make the world a little bit better.
You can also combine your reverse Advent Calendar with decluttering your home and donate to many charities other than foodbanks.
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