Join me and hundreds more in donating food and raising awareness of food poverty with a reverse advent calendar.
Many of you know I also run the UK Money Bloggers community. It’s a group of people like me. We’re all a bit geeky when it comes to money, and we enjoy sharing our passion with the readers of all out blogs. It’s a lovely network and a great source of support for everyone involved. But that’s not all it does.
Collectively we’ve got hundreds of thousands of readers, Insta-groupies, Facebook fans and Twitter followers. We’re what the industry calls “Digital Influencers”. And this means we can make a difference en mass. Or at least make a decent bit of noise.
So each year we run a Christmas campaign. Last year we had the idea of #FoodBankAdvent. And it was a huge success, with 8,627 people being prompted by our activity to find their nearest food bank – and that’s just the direct traffic I can measure from the UK Money Bloggers site. It’s likely there were thousands more.
So we’re running it again. I’ll be starting my collection on the 1st of November and I’d love it if you took part too.
What is #FoodBankAdvent?
You all know how advent calendars work. Well rather than take something away, you give instead. For 24 days or so you put an item into a box every day. And then once the box is full, you donate it to a food bank. It’s often called a reverse advent calendar.
It’s very simple. Yes, you could just donate a box of food in one go (please do!), but doing it this way not only makes it a bit of a project, but it also helps raise awareness of the need for donations.
Last year many of the people taking part, both bloggers and readers, shared their pictures on social media with the hashtag #FoodBankAdvent and it made a huge difference getting more people to join in.
The @UKMoneybloggers #FoodbankAdvent campaign is still going strong, and there’s time for you to start your own collection. For days 16, 17 & 18 of my donation I’ve added tea, noodles and sanitary pads. More on how to take part here https://t.co/nVqlDwtNU9 pic.twitter.com/2HPTtHyZjX
— Andy Webb CleverCash (@AndyCleverCash) November 22, 2017
Why food banks?
Millions of people are going hungry every year. Some of this is down to debts and low pay, but delays to Universal Credit payments are often making the matter worse. People don’t have enough money to cover their essentials, and that often means there’s not enough money to eat.
The most recent figures from the Trussell Trust, which runs the largest network of food banks in the UK, show they distributed three-day emergency food supplies to 1.3million over a 12 month period. Close to half a million of those were to children. It’s shocking that this happens in 2018.
If you aren’t convinced, then watch Ken Loach’s film I, Daniel Blake. It’s an amazing film, even if I was in tears for most of it. Please do watch the whole movie, but if you can’t, then watch this clip. It really brought home to me the needs to do something to stop food poverty.
Now is the time to start your reverse advent calendar
You can do this at any time, but it helps to do it in November. The main reason is you are then ready to donate it in early December rather than just before Christmas.
Food banks are usually staffed by volunteers and rarely open every day. That means the earlier you get your donations to them, the easier it is for them to sort the items and get them to people. A donation on Christmas Eve might seem the most festive, but it’s also the least practical.
You can of course donate in the New Year instead if you want, just make sure the dates on the food you are collecting are long enough.
How you can take part
It’s really easy. Start collecting extra bits when you go to the supermarket. And not just food. Toiletries, including sanitary towels, are expensive too and are very welcome donations.
It’s well worth checking out what your local food bank needs, as often there’s a surplus of some items (pasta and beans for example) and a lack of others.
You can search for Trussell Trust food banks by postcode, but there might be others in your area run by local community or church groups.
Please, please, please do share your progress on social media, and use #FoodBankAdvent. Combined we can use this to make some noise and get even more people taking part.
You can also read more about the campaign and get regular updates over at www.ukmoneybloggers.com