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Foodbank Advent – How you can support those in need this Christmas

We all know about, and probably have, Advent calendars. But less of us have probably considered a reverse advent calendar. This year, I’m changing that and will be taking part in Foodbank Advent for the first time.

We all know about, and probably have, Advent calendars. But less of us have probably considered a reverse advent calendar.  This year, I’m changing that and will be taking part in Foodbank Advent for the first time.

But this is not a new concept. 2020 will be the fourth year the UK money blogging community has banded together for our #FoodbankAdvent campaign – and this year it really is needed more than ever.

Together we can achieve so much more, and I’d love as many of you as possible to get involved in Foodbank Advent.

In this post, I will cover:

  • What is a reverse advent calendar?
  • What’s the point?
  • Why is this year more important?
  • How can I get involved?
  • What if I’m shielding or not comfortable going out?
  • Any other tips/ideas

What is a reverse advent calendar?

It’s a really simple idea. With a standard Advent calendar you open a window or door each day during the first 24 days of December. Though traditionally you’d just see a picture behind that window, you’ll now get everything from chocolate and toys for children, through to beer, gin and cheese for adults. I’m even considering getting one for my dog this year!

A reverse Advent calendar is different in two very important ways. First, it switches it so that rather than taking something each day, you put something in. For our #FoodbankAdvent campaign it’s essential food and toiletries.

Secondly, you do it a month early, so throughout November. This is key as it allows you to donate your advent box at the start of December.

You can read more on this official UK Money Bloggers post.

What’s the point?

The idea is to collect 24 staple items that can be distributed to people in need. We do this in November, rather than December as it takes time for foodbanks to process donations and distribute the food. The aim is for the food to be distributed in time for Christmas, hence the need to compile the food and toiletries now.

While Christmas will be a bit different this year, most of us will still enjoy plenty (too much) food and over indulge in luxuries. Sadly, that won’t be the case for everyone and many will spend the festive season worrying about where their next meal will come from. This is a small gesture, but could help someone be a bit more comfortable.

I understand the point that the existence of foodbanks is the result of government policy failure and a functioning society should have no need for them. However, we will not change that overnight and in the meantime people are going hungry. Therefore, I believe, if we are in a position to do so, we should support foodbanks and those in need.

Why is this year more important?

Times have been tough this year. Unemployment levels have soared and more people have fallen below the poverty line. With another lockdown starting in England and the Covid-19 pandemic looking set to continue throughout winter and into the spring, these problems will only be exacerbated.

The Trussell Trust – the main charity that runs foodbanks – has predicted foodbank usage will be up 61 percent this weekend. The ongoing debate around free school meals will also increase the problem as many children will be left without decent food in the school holidays.

While foodbanks don’t solve the problem, they provide a vital service and offer a lifeline to people in need. This simple activity could make a real difference to a struggling family.

How can I get involved?

Anyone can get involved. All you have to do is fill up your own box with useful items. Put in one item a day for 24 days and take it to your local foodbank once you have completed your box.

You don’t have to go to the supermarket and buy one item every day, you can of course buy in bulk and just put one item in your box each day. With a second lockdown coming, this is the option I’ll be taking.

There’s lots of people joining in and we’d love to spread the word. Share your pictures on social media using the hashtag #FoodbankAdvent to encourage other people to join in. You can also tag me in your posts (@Katie20Percent) and I’ll share as many as possible!

I’ve already convinced my mum to join in and am hoping to get many more too.

I’m started today (04/11/20), but you can start anytime this week. Just make sure you complete at least 24 days!

What if I’m shielding or not comfortable going to supermarkets?

There are plenty of other ways you can get involved, so don’t worry!

 Many online supermarkets have ways for you to contribute if you’re currently shopping online.

  • Morrisons – you can buy a £10 food bank voucher that goes towards 50 of the foodbanks in the UK that are most in need
  • Waitrose – you can add a digital green token at checkout, as you do in-store
  • Tesco – you can convert Clubcard vouchers to a donation to the Trussell Trust

Or, you can make a financial donation to your local foodbank or the national Trussell Trust organisation.

The UK Money Bloggers community has set up this Go Fund Me page to make it easy for you to support both the Trussell Trust and our campaign.

Other tips and a competition

I would really recommend getting in contact with your local foodbank or having a look at their website. Many specify certain items they’re particularly in need of and may also list things they have enough of at the moment.

As an added incentive to get involved, I will be running my first ever competition! One reader/follower who completes a reverse advent calendar and tags/comments on my post at the start and end of the challenge will be randomly selected and I will donate £25 to a charity of their choice.

Make sure you tag me on Twitter or Instagram (@Katie20Percent) so I can see your posts!

Don’t forget to use #FoodbankAdvent on your posts too, so you can see everyone else getting involved and pick up some tips and ideas.

It would be great if as many of you as possible could take part in Foodbank Advent, so please do get involved!

By The Twenty Percent

Hi I'm Katie and I use my blog to help young people take control of their personal finances.

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