Take part in our reverse Advent calendar and support individuals and families in crisis this winter

29th November 2023

A new Christmas trend has developed, for traditional Advent calendars to be reversed. Instead of receiving a gift, those taking part donate an essential item to Chichester District Foodbank each day. These items are used to make emergency food parcels to support individuals and families over the winter period.

It’s become increasingly popular for families, groups of work colleagues, school classes, and sports teams, spreading goodwill and seasonal cheer, especially during the cost-of-living crisis.

At the end of Advent, the collection of 24 essential items can be dropped off at our warehouse at St John’s Hall, Chichester, or at one of our collection baskets across the city. A full list of our donation points and warehouse open times can be found here.

Download your reverse Advent calendar 2023

What is a reverse advent calendar?
Traditionally Advent calendars are used to count down the 24 days before Christmas. Most calendars start on 1 December and run until Christmas Eve, comprising a series of doors or windows to open, revealing a gift, small chocolate, or picture. The reverse Advent calendar is all about donations of essential day-to-day items.

Start collecting today
You may have to complete the last few days early, so that the calendar is completed in time to donate your gifts before Christmas. If you are too busy before the end of the year, you may be able to drop off your donations in early January. We need essential items all year round, but particularly in the winter months.

Check your donations
Please only donate items that are in date and unopened. Also, due to “Natasha’s Law”, we are unable to take items without an ingredient list.

All brands of donations are welcome. As well as supermarket own brands.

How to create a Reverse Advent Calendar
Simply Download your reverse Advent calendar 2023 and print off to mark the days or use a blank reverse Advent calendar 2023 that can be tailored for your group.

For groups wanting to take part, wrap a large box in Christmas paper with information on the outside about how the reverse Advent calendar works, plus a ‘wish list’ of what can be donated; it’s fun and fosters seasonal goodwill.

If you’re going to create a calendar for the family, explain to your children how it works (making sure little ones can’t tamper with the items!). You’ll need a bit of space for the collection – a spare shelf or a couple of large boxes work well and put the calendar where the dates can be crossed off. It’s a great way to show children that Christmas is a time for giving, as well as getting gifts.

If you want to choose your own items for donation
Check our list of urgently needed items to check items are needed. Personal care items such as deodorants, feminine products and men’s shaving items are very welcome too. For animal lovers, dog and cat food is always needed.

Remember free-from products for people with allergies are on the list. Similarly, basic requirements, such as tinned meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, long-life milk, puddings, instant coffee, tea and fruit juices are always needed.

Once your reverse Advent calendar collection is complete, arrange where and when to drop off your 24 donated items.

Happy collecting!


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