Have you seen the film I, Daniel Blake (it’s on Amazon Prime at the moment btw)? Before watching that film, I was aware of food banks, I thought they it was awful they existed (not in an ‘I don’t want to help the struggling’ kind of way, but in an ‘I can’t believe people can’t afford to eat IN THE UK’ kind of way).
There’s a scene in the film, which I won’t spoil for you, in a food bank. And it broke my heart. The whole cinema sobbed and I couldn’t get it out of my head for days. In fact, I still think about it. And when I got thinking that there will be people going hungry this Christmas, with no food, kids with no presents – well honestly, the thought it a bit unbearable.
And when I think that there will be people going hungry this Christmas, with no food, kids with no presents – well honestly, the thought it a bit unbearable honestly.
What is a reverse advent calendar
When I heard that the UK Money Bloggers were running a reverse advent calendar campagn in time for Christmas – I couldn’t wait to join in.
So with a normal advent calendar, for every day of December, you open up a new window and hopefully there’s chocolate in there (I’d usually have eaten all 25 by the 2nd though…) Well, a reverse one is where every day for a month/25 days (whatever), you put a food item (or something useful) into a box.
The plan is, that after the 25 days, you’re going to have a Christmas hamper of sorts that you can donate to your local food bank.
Why food banks need extra stuff during Christmas
While we’re shoving loads of food and booze down our gobs in December (well fingers crossed you are anyway!), people who are struggling anyway are put even in a worse position with Christmas and the fact the kids are out of school and they won’t be able to rely on the free school meals that are provided.
And this year, thousands of people will be applying for Universal Credit and will have to go through a six or more week period of waiting. If they can get an advance payment, it will only be half of what they are entitled to – so many are going to have to make some horrible decisions – like, food or heating?
Well, because of all this – food banks need more stock in December with a 45% increase of food bank referrals.
What’s in my box (so far)…
I got a present delivered in a red box which I nearly threw out and then realised it was perfect for this – but it really doesn’t have to be as fancy as that at all. Any old box will do – in fact, a couple of carrier bags are good too.
I first off scoured my flat for food and bits I don’t need and found coconut oil and desiccated coconut I wasn’t using. I know they aren’t exactly essential like pasta, but I’m sure somebody could use it.
I also have a few things people have given me, like the coffee holder (perfect for keeping drinks warm), and some beauty bits and male grooming which I don’t need, so am gifting them too.
I also popped into Aldi and picked up some essentials. I’m trying to choose substantial, meat-based things because it’s a bit nicer over Christmas – but you honestly can donate any non-perishable food.
My plan is to pick a few things up every time I go shopping and keep and eye out for reductions and offers to add to the box. I also heard that food banks rarely get tampons and sanitary towels donated, so will make sure to throw some of them in too.
ALSO – will keep an eye out for some cheap Christmas things like Christmas puddings which will make someone’s Christmas day a bit better.
How to get involved
The main ‘food bank’ charity is The Trussel Trust, and it relies on public donations. So find your local food bank, maybe give them an email to see what food they are needing (mine needed EVERYTHING – I also asked if I could donate toiletries etc, and they said they’d be grateful for anything really) and get going with your box.
I’m starting mine this month, rather than in December – so that the gift box is ready to go BEFORE Christmas. So do it with me – grab yourself a box and for every day of the month, fill it with something non-perishable. Here’s the Trussel Trust’s guide to what can go in a food parcel but remember it doesn’t need to be just food.
Shall we do it together? I’m going to post on social all the bits and bobs I’ve collected (I’ve already been doing it!). Use the hashtag #FoodbankAdvent so I know where you are.
After all, isn’t Christmas all about giving? (Not just Luvabella dolls and heartburn).