Christmas is and always has been my favourite time of year. But for a lot of people, Christmas isn’t so magical. Especially if they’re struggling to put food on the table. That’s why I’m taking part in the UK Money Bloggers Reverse Advent Calendar.
Instead of opening a door each day and taking a treat, I’ll be putting one item IN each day. I’ve got a big box ready to add one item for 25 days. At the end, I will take my collection to my local food bank. I’ve chosen to do mine throughout November, so my local food bank has enough time to distribute it to those in need before Christmas.
WHY I’M GETTING INVOLVED
Personally I find it quite shocking how many people rely on food banks in this country. Unfortunately, the Government and system we currently have is failing lots of people, with 13 million living in relative poverty.
I know I’m very fortunate to live the life I do. I have a wonderful family, live in a nice area and can afford to feed my kids and buy them Christmas presents. But a few years ago I really struggled with money. I was in debt and was living payday to payday. If I had been too ill to work or lost my job, I could easily have ended up relying on food banks. It can happen to anyone, and I’d hope if I ever needed to use one, someone would be generous enough to help.
HOW CAN YOU JOIN IN?
It’s really easy to join in! All you need to do is grab a box or bag, add one item a day then find your local food bank and take it to them! I do my shopping weekly so I’ll just add a few items to our trolley each week.
Even if you don’t have much spare cash, there are still ways to get involved. I already have my first few items ready and all of them were totally free using cashback apps! In fact I even got paid 50p on top of my freebies – which I’ll use to buy something else for the box.
You can also buy items from the ‘basics’ range of supermarkets – I’ve tried MANY of these products over my thrifty journey and found most to be as good if not better than the expensive branded versions. There are also lots of coupons available online and in magazines such as Tesco’s monthly mag. Often I throw away a few of these coupons because they’re things my family doesn’t eat, but I’ll be keeping my eye out for things that could be included in my box.
WHAT SHOULD YOU INCLUDE IN YOUR REVERSE ADVENT CALENDAR?
There’s loads of things you can include and you can find a list of them on the Trussell Trust’s website. I think the most important thing is to make sure it has a long shelf life and can be used to make a decent meal. Tinned food, rice, pasta and cereals are always useful and don’t go out of date quickly.
Personally I’m going to include a mixture of basic staples, treats and toiletries.
One of the biggest headlines that affected me this year was about period poverty. When I read about young girls going to school without sanitary items because they couldn’t afford them it broke my heart. I’ll be including these along with other toiletries such as toothpaste and soap. These are things many of us take for granted, but for some people it can be a choice between those or putting food on the table.
GETTING THE KIDS INVOLVED
I think this campaign is a really good way to teach the kids about generosity, kindness and compassion. Ollie is nearly 2 and clearly too young to understand the concept of a food bank. But I think you can never be too young to learn about and experience kindness. His big bro is 9, very intelligent and fully capable of understanding why I’m getting involved. I’ll use this as an opportunity to talk to him about how other people live and why they might need our help. I’ll let him choose items for the donation and hopefully he will be able to put himself in another child’s shoes.
A lot of the UK Money Bloggers are taking part in this campaign and we’d love you to join us! Show us your collections and help spread the word with the hashtag #FoodbankAdvent