Regular readers may remember that last year myself and many other bloggers from the UK Money Bloggers group threw our support behind a reverse advent Christmas campaign for the Trussell Trust. In case you don’t know, the Trussell Trust runs most of the food banks in the UK.
We are doing the same thing this year, organising food bank collections in our homes and workplaces, as well as spreading the word to urge as many people as possible to take part.
What is the reverse advent campaign?
You all know how advent calendars work. Each day leading up to Christmas you open a window and take out a little chocolate or gift. With the reverse advent idea, instead of taking something out you put an item in a box.
However, don’t wait until the 1st December to start as the food banks need our reverse advent contributions before Christmas, to give them time to distribute food to those in desperate need. Kids love doing this and it gives them a different view of Christmas. It makes adults and children alike appreciate the happy Christmas they are likely to experience if they realise that others will be lucky to get a hot meal, let alone any presents.
Why take part?
I find it depressing that in a wealthy and developed country like the UK we even need food banks. However, they do provide a lifeline and are so worth supporting.
Winter is a difficult period for families living in poverty. Not only do fuel bills rise but children are home for the school holidays and therefore not receiving a free school meal.
They are needed more than ever now as the roll out of Universal Credit has caused delays to benefit payments. The Trussell Trust says that the main reasons for referral between April – Sept 2018 were benefit payments not covering the cost of essentials (31%), benefit delays (22%) and benefit changes (17%).
Just imagine being so cash strapped you have to feed yourself or your family from a food bank. Now imagine that is also Christmas and the shops are all sparkly and full of people spending their cash like crazy. You can see the great service that food banks provide in such circumstances.
If you cannot organise a whole box of food, don’t worry. Most supermarkets have collection points for food bank contributions so you can tuck a couple of things in there. Everything helps.
What should you give?
Myself and my colleagues at work already have our collection boxes in place and they are filling up. Around the middle of December we will squeeze all of the donations into my car to be driven to the local food bank.
We have been checking the website of our local food bank to see what they are short of currently. You can type in your postcode to find yours here.
To give you an idea of the types of items they particularly welcome, ours is currently asking for the following:
Long life milk
Long life juice
Tins or packets of custard
Small jars of coffee
Small washing powder or liquid
Multipacks of sweets or snacks
So what are you waiting for? Get organising your reverse advent food bank collections at your home, workplace, school or club. I would love to know what you are doing or planning to help this amazing cause.
Some more information from the Trussell Trust
Thirteen million people live below the poverty line in the UK, with individuals going hungry every day for a range of reasons, from benefit delays to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income.
The Trussell Trust’s 400-strong network of food banks provides a minimum of three days’ emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the UK. In the last year their network gave 1,332,952 emergency food supplies to people in crisis. You can read more about the amazing work done by the Trussel Trust here.