Giving back this Christmas – Our Reverse Advent Box

This December we have been taking part in Reverse Advent and it’s been a very worthwhile family task. If you’ve not heard of Reverse Advent before; it’s where you take a box and each day you add something to it with the intention of giving the box away to someone in need.

I chose to donate our box to our local foodbank – Chorlton and Didsbury Foodbank. The foodbank opened in 2014 and last year gave over 1000 people and families three-day emergency food supplies.

Although we’ve never been at the point where we’ve needed to get a referral to a foodbank, there have been times when the cupboards have been bare and I’ve not had the money to buy food. There have been times where I’ve skipped meals to make sure the boys get food in their belly; and I’ve wondered how I’ll feed them their next meal. As frugal as I am, sometimes the money just doesn’t always stretch as far as I’d like.

In late November the Co-op sent me a big blue box and some ideas for my Reverse Advent. Every time I popped to the shops I’d put a few extra tins, jars, or packets of dried food in my basket and when I got home I put them in my box.

Giving back this Christmas - Our Reverse Advent box

I knew my local foodbank would appreciate getting the box of food supplies before Christmas. So I did cheat a little and over the weekend I filled my box, packed it up and it’s ready to be delivered to the foodbank in time for their Christmas party.

As a blogger we get sent a lot of things over the year, some of which we use, some of which we give away to friends and family. I’d saved a big bag of children’s books and lots of craft kits (the kind where everything you need is included, so you don’t need extra glue or paint, or things people may not have). So I’ve donated those to the foodbank too. They’ll be given to the children attending their Christmas party and I can’t think of a better home for them.

Putting the Reverse Advent box has been really easy. Buying a couple of items each time I popped to the shops was a doddle and didn’t make a huge dent in our budget. When you first get your box it can be hard to think of what you could fill it with. So I’ve put together a suggested shopping list (below) if you need some ideas to get you started…

Giving back this Christmas - Our Reverse Advent box

The Reverse Advent box is definitely something our family will be embracing as a family tradition. We know how fortunate we are to have food in the cupboards and a warm house to live in. It’s only right that we give a bit of what we can, when we can.

For more information about the Reverse Advent campaign with The Co-op read their blog. To find your nearest foodbank and to find out more about their work, or how to access their services, visit the Trussell Trust website.

Merry Christmas xx

Sorry Son – how it feels to struggle to feed my family

Sorry son, we’re not on the breadline just yet, but mummy looked in her purse and could only afford milk. I know you want a ham sandwich for your lunch but there’s no ham and no bread. Sorry son.

Sorry son. I know you want a cheese sandwich now, but the same applies. We’ve got no pesto to make you pesto pasta. We’ve got things you won’t eat like tomatoes and celery, but that’s no use. Sorry son.

Sorry son. We’ve only got two eggs, so your lunch is two scrambled eggs and some ketchup. I won’t have lunch so you won’t be able to steal mine. Sorry son.

Sorry son, I think your tea might be a packet of vegetable curry flavoured noodles with some frozen peas. That’s all that’s in the cupboard. Sorry son.

Sorry son, I’ll find some money from somewhere and buy you something nice to eat tomorrow. At least some ham and bread and cheese. Sorry son.

Sorry son for letting you down. For not earning more. It’s not that I don’t love you; I do with all my heart. Love doesn’t put food on the table. It’s a hard lesson I know. Sorry son.

I’m sorry.

Giving back this Christmas - Our Reverse Advent Calendar

Update 2019:

I wrote this post back in 2013. Since then we’ve had financial highs and lows; we’ve had empty cupboards and we’ve scraped together meals out of seemingly nothing. It’s turned me into a hoarder of food. Whenever I have a few extra pounds in my purse I stock up on big bags of dried pasta and tins of chopped tomatoes. I have bags and bags of rice, tins of tuna, lentils and beans.

I always want to be able to feed my family. To have nothing but a small 25p packet of noodles to feed your growing son is a terrible, terrible feeling. I never want to feel that way again.

We’ve recently lost our tax credits since we were moved over to Universal Credit, so right now things are tighter than they have been, and will be for a while. You can only tighten your belt so much. We will be ok, because we have no other option than to be ok.

For more information about food poverty, visit the Trussell Trust website.

Sorry Son - how it feels to struggle to feed my family