Use this Reverse Advent Calendar to fill your local blessing boxes this holiday season. Leave what you can, and take what you need!
This Blessing Box Advent Challenge will provide non-perishable food items, baby supplies, and other non-food items to anyone in need. In case this is new for you, a Blessing Box is placed outside and is accessible 24/7 for deposits or withdrawals for anyone in need.
Related: Random Acts of Kindness are simple ways to go forward in gratitude and give of your time, talents, and resources.
What is a Reverse Advent Calendar?
Typically, an Advent calendar is designed for the recipient to receive a gift each day. So, instead of receiving a gift, a reverse Advent calendar encourages giving an item each day. You might also say this is a kindness Advent calendar.
So, at the end of Advent, you will have generously stocked a Blessing Box or maybe you might choose to collect the 24 items and drop them off at a local food pantry, food bank, homeless shelter, or other good cause in time for Christmas. The point is to give, notice others and share the true spirit of Christmas.
Reverse Advent Calendar to Fill The Blessing Box
Food Insecurity and hunger are facts of life for too many of our community members and their kids. At this time of year, organizations like scouts and schools organize the collection of non-perishable food items and other non-food items like basic toiletries and diapers. Often these donations end up at local food banks and are distributed to anyone who asks for food. It is my hope that these donations find their way to those in need. It is also my hope that you will join me and other volunteers in giving time and resources that can make a difference in the lives of those who are hungry.
What is a Blessing Box?
A Blessing Box is like a Little Free Pantry, a weather resistant cabinet, placed outdoors in a location that is accessible to all. People donate items into the box or panty and anyone can take what they need from the box or pantry. Since the Blessing Box is placed outside, it is accessible 24/7, because no one should be hungry at any time.
What Do You put in a blessing box?
Well, what do you enjoy eating? And what basic items do you need? Those are the very items that need to fill this box. Keep in mind, cans with pull tab lids are preferred in case the recipient does not have a can opener.
- Can or Packet of Tuna or Salmon
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Peanut Butter and Jelly
- Loaf of Bread
- Individual-sized Packages of Nuts
- Canned Beans
- Vienna Sausages
- Granola Bars
- Can or Packet of Chicken
- Canned Soups
- Canned Fruit
- Canned Vegetables
- Boxed Stuffing Mix
- Instant Mashed Potatoes
- Mac and Cheese
- Breakfast Bars
- Pop Tarts, Little Debbie Snack Cakes, Cookies, etc. (any treat!)
- Box of Cereal
- Individual Packages of Cheese or Peanut Butter Crackers
- Pancake Mix and Syrup
- Socks and or Mittens
- Shelf Stable Milk
- Canned Chili or Ravioli
- Pasta Sauce and Pasta
- Yes, I did include some treats and less than nutritious goodies on this list. While I do think we should focus on high-protein foods remember everyone deserves special treats! Someone with a limited food budget may focus on getting as many nutrients as they can with their dollar, which means they may not buy themselves the treats we all like – like potato chips, Little Debbie cakes, or Pop Tarts, but who doesn’t love a treat and feel well taken care of when they receive one
- It is especially nice if the cans have pull tops. Also, choose a variety of items with different cooking preparation needs. Many of our friends that face hunger may not have all of the niceties (can opener, oven, refrigerator, microwave, etc) so thinking about that as you are making your purchases is helpful!
- Do pay attention to the weather and refrain from items that would become ruined if they freeze or get too hot.
- Paper products like toilet paper and paper towels are other useful items.
- Toiletries and personal care items like deodorant, soap, shampoo, laundry soap, and feminine products are also good items to include.
What to Do
Typically blessing boxes aren’t that big. While we might stock up on many items at once we will distribute them daily or every couple of days.
Download the PDF and print it in color and hang it for a daily reminder of what to collect.
I have a sweet friend that puts a few fun snacks in the boxes just as school is letting out. What a thoughtful gesture to make sure kids have an after school snack and encouragement after a day of school.
You and your family will receive a blessing if you choose to participate in this Reverse Advent calendar Blessing Box Challenge! I can’t wait to hear about it in the comments! Let me know what other activities your family does to give back to your community!
More Christmas Countdown Activities
I love sharing ways to countdown and make fun memories for the whole month of December. Here are a few more ideas you might enjoy.