A reverse advent calendar is an amazing thing, for everyone involved. It has been around for some time now, I think the idea deserves more recognition, which is why I’m sharing it with you all. You have heard about the advent calendars children get with 24 days of chocolate. Who ever thought 24 days of chocolates was a good idea anyway? Now there are beauty advent calendars for the beauty obsessed. Well what if I said you could help people less fortunate than you with the reverse advent? Would you enjoy in?
A reverse advent calendar is similar to a regular advent calendar. However the biggest difference is that instead of taking an item each day, you add one. You can do your reverse advent which ever way you like. However, it’s commonly done by colleting 24 items over the 24 days in a basket. Then donated to a food bank, a family in need or a church whom helps those in need. You can also collect one pound every day and donate the £24 to a charity of your choice at the end of advent. The options you have to help make a difference in someone’s life, is endless.
It is perfect to do as a group, you can help each other build bigger boxes. You can put a box in your classroom or workplace, make it a group activity. It is a great way to teach children the art of giving especially at this time of year.
What to put in the box?
You want to start your own, but have no idea where to start? No problem, a lot of the time shelf items and beauty products are your best bet. Here is a list of things I think you should include:
- Tinned foods with ring pulls. This is the biggest tips I can give you! Homeless people don’t carry tin openers due to the amount of stuff they have to carry around. They need tinned foods with ring pulls on them. Such a little thing that can make all the difference!
- Beauty products. Another big thing many people need. Wet wipes, deodorant, body spray, mouthwash, toothbrush and toothpaste. The standard items you need to clean.
- Reusable water bottle. Most places now have refillable stations that makes drinking water easier. It also helps to reduce the amount of plastic bottles being used.
- UHT milk (plant based milks also work). This is because some people don’t have access to a fridge and UHT milk lasts without refrigeration. This is an item food banks like to see.
- Toilet paper. This is expensive and many people in poverty won’t have the funds to pay for this expense. Which is why it’s important to add to your calendar.
- Baby food. Some times this can slip your mind, but baby food donations are vital to some banks or shelters who look after children.
- Snacks. Children need to snack, so adding snack foods are important too. You can make them healthy by adding the YoYo rolled dried fruit.
- Toys. Sticking with the children theme, it is Christmas and what child doesn’t like a toy. Donating toys can make a child smile.
- Clothing items. It’s winter, it’s cold so many people need hats, scarves, gloves, jumpers or coats.
There are many charities that accept gifts at Christmas. Some organise for the gifts to be delivered to those who need them most. However just make sure you get in touch with your local branch to check that they will take your items. Here are some charities you could donate to:
- Crisis.org for food and clothes
- Salvation Army for toys and gifts
- Great Ormond Street Hospital for games and entertainment gifts
- Samaritans for toys and toiletries
- Women’s Aid – for toys, clothes, baby food
- or any local shelter/ food bank near you.
Also don’t forget to help throughout the year. January, February and even March can be exceptionally cold and people living in poverty need your help just as much then as they do at Christmas. Donate, volunteer or spread the word, everything helps.