The Reverse Advent Calendar 2018 #HayleysAdventAppeal
“Give something back this Christmas”
This year, I’ve decided to do something a little different. I always feel a deep sense of sadness at Christmas time when I think about all of those people who are less fortunate or who have simply fallen on hard times.
Christmas is a time for family and friends, for bringing joy to those closest to you. It’s about making memories and enjoying a celebration that unites togetherness.
But for so many people; Christmas can also be a time of great struggle and loneliness. And this year, I want to give back. I want to do something, if only something small, to help these people.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have family and a few close friends that do and have supported me through hard times and I’m also incredibly grateful for the life I have. It isn’t full of luxury by any means and there are still times when we are keeping a close eye on our financial situation. But I am in a position where I can afford to help people who so desperately need it.
I’ve been there myself. The Christmas of 2011 was probably the hardest of my life. I barely managed to scrape enough money together to buy a bag of frozen broccoli and a Bernard Mathews Turkey Joint (you know, the round ones that cost around £1.59) for our Christmas dinner. All we had that year was each other. I had no income from mid-November until the following January, I survived by selling what I had; including clothes, household items, furniture, even some of my children’s toys, simply to make ends meet. I had to quit college because I couldn’t afford the bus fair, let alone the fees. My whole world was turned on it’s head that year, so I know from experience what it feels like to suddenly have nothing.
That’s why I’ve decided to take part in the reverse advent calendar and give something back to the community. However, I’m doing it a little different to what you might have already seen about the reverse advent. But first, here’s a little about what it all entails:
The Reverse Advent Calendar is a simple concept that involves adding 1 food item per day for the 24 days of Advent into a box and donating it to a local food bank (or similar) to be shared out to vulnerable people at Christmas. Many people section off their boxes into the 24 segments and add advent numbers and even decorate them in Christmas wrapping paper.
How I’m doing it a little different.
I’m starting my “calendars” on September 1st and my aim is to have at least 3 boxes (sept, Oct, Nov) to donate in December. I will certainly do more boxes if I can.
I’m also going to be supporting not one but THREE charities, they are; my local Food Bank, Women’s Aid & The Worcestershire Homeless Appeal. All of these charities need that extra bit of support during the festive period as the demand for their services can suddenly rise quite dramatically during winter and Christmas season. Of course, there are probably many others you could choose to help, these are just my personal favourites and ones that are local to me.
Another aim this year is not only to donate three of my own boxes but to also encourage as many of you to do the same. How great would it be, if every one of my followers (there’s nearly 30,000 of you!) donated just one box each to a charity of your choice? Just imagine what a difference to people’s lives we could make this Christmas.
You can get involved by starting your own reverse advent box – today! And share your progress and chosen charities on social media. Follow my Instagram and Facebook pages and tag me in your posts for a shoutout – you can also use the hashtags #feedthehomeless #supportfoodbanks and #hayleysadventappeal to spread the word and join in the discussions.
What to put in a Reverse Advent Calendar.
First of all, chose a charity you would like to donate to and check for items they are most in need of. Some locations may vary slightly on what they require most and some will definitely have more than enough of certain items. But as a quick guide these are the items you should be aiming for.
Non-perishable food goods such as tinned foods, dried pasta, sauces, packet mixes, biscuits, cereal, UHT milk, tea, sugar etc.
Toiletries such as shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper etc.
Household items such as washing up liquid, laundry powder, detergent, cleaning products
Feminine products; sanitary towels etc
Baby items: such as baby wipes, nappies, creams, baby food, etc
Don’t forget as it’s Christmas you might want to add things such as mince pies, Christmas pudding, stuffing, cream crackers , cranberry sauce etc. Also, last year, a few food banks were asking for things like chocolate advent Calendars (for children) and other non-food items such as Christmas crackers. Just remember to check first on what they need.
I can’t wait to see what you call come up with, but remember, even just something small will be a big help to those most in need this Christmas, if you can’t donate, join the discussion, spread the word, share a Facebook post, this blog post even. The more people that know, the better chance we’ll have at making a real difference to people’s lives this year.