Most mums will be making or buying an advent calendar soon. Kids love to open a window each day from 1 to 24 December and find the chocolate hidden behind. Adults too can join in the fun with calendars devoted to wine, cheese or even cosmetics. But what about creating a reverse advent calendar where you donate an item every day?
Skinted Minted Mum is joining the UK Money Bloggers #FoodbankAdvent campaign this festive season to encourage donations to food banks. December is the busiest month of the year for food banks with 45% more referrals from Citizens Advice, job centres, GPs and social services during the two weeks before Christmas. School holidays are often difficult for families on low incomes as they have to feed children who would otherwise have been getting free school meals.
So, how does it work? The idea is to get an empty box and put one item for your local food bank into it every day. You could do this for 24 days to mirror the advent calendar or even a whole month. It’s a great way to show children that Christmas is also about giving. You can also get them involved in the project by asking them to decorate the box.
You can find your nearest food bank by searching online or asking the local council. Many churches also collect donations. Alternatively, check out the Trussell Trust website here to see if they have a food bank in your area.
The sort of food required tends to be tinned or dried as it has to be long-life (see picture for some of my contributions). Toiletries, nappies and feminine hygiene products may also be needed – the food bank website will probably have a list of items they need. And while children may want to add mince pies or sweets, it’s actually the basics (plus any spare plastic bags to carry it away in) which are most useful.
If you want your donation to be used for Christmas, get it to your chosen food bank in early December as Christmas Eve will be too late to distribute it. Collecting through November and delivering the donations in the first week in December would be the best timing. If you want to collect during advent itself, your donations will be just as welcome in January. Finally, putting a picture of your box on social media with the hashtag #FoodbankAdvent might nudge others to do the same and ensure no-one goes hungry this Christmas.
With help from Sara Williams at Debt Camel who blogs here about debt and credit ratings.