Reverse Advent Calendar Appeal 2016

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For the majority of people, Christmas is a welcome celebration that is embraced with open arms. However, for others the festive season can be a bleak prospect and many will face waking up on Christmas Day feeling hungry and hopeless.

Whilst flicking through Facebook one evening, I came across a post for a reverse advent calendar. Intrigued, I clicked on it to find an article urging people to stop and think of others less fortunate than themselves this Christmas, by creating a reverse advent calendar for their local foodbank.

Unlike a normal advent calendar, which is all about receiving a small treat every day until Christmas Day, a reverse advent calendar is about giving a small item every day until you have a box of much needed and useful items, which you can donate to charity.  Whilst the advent calendar industry is worth billions and calendars can be found in shops from as early as September (to my dismay), did you know that there are 13 million people in the UK in poverty? In addition, debt, low incomes, benefit delays and homelessness continue to rise.

After doing some research I was astounded to discover that between April and September 2016, The Trussell Trust foodbanks across the UK distributed 519,342 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, compared to 506,369 during the same period last year. 188,584 of these went to children. Trussell Trust CEO, David McAuley comments “As the number of emergency food parcels provided to people by foodbanks rises once again, it’s clear that more can be done to get people back on their feet faster”.

As I tucked into my dinner that night, I felt blessed knowing that even if my cupboards were bare the week before pay day, I had amazing friends, family and neighbours that were there to provide me with a hot meal or a packed lunch should I need it.

The next morning I approached my colleagues at Luto and asked them if they would like to join me for the six weeks leading up to Christmas to create a reverse advent calendar for our local foodbank. All they needed to do was put one or two extra food or hygiene items into their shopping baskets and donate to such a worthy cause. Thankfully I work with generous, kind and thoughtful colleagues, whom once presented with the facts and figures, immediately agreed and have since been regularly donating items.

Our box of goodies is steadily growing and I know when I have worked my way through half a box of Quality Street on Christmas Day, I will feel better knowing that my act of generosity will make someone’s Christmas a little bit more bearable.

For further information please visit www.trusselltrust.org