Hackney Foodbank’s Advent calendar makeover

This ‘reverse’ Advent calendar encourages people to donate essential items for families in crisis. Pic: Hackney Foodbank

Hackney Foodbank has turned Christmas on its head this year with its reverse Advent calendar. 

The initiative aims to encourage people to donate a different essential item to the foodbank each day of Advent. 

Toilet roll, tinned soup and body wash are just some of the staples to appear on the calendar, alongside milk and custard.  

Jenna Fansa of Hackney Foodbank told Eastlondonlines: “We work with our warehouse to see what the most needed items are. It’s very bespoke to Hackney. We’re constantly running out of biscuits and tinned rice pudding!” 

Donors are also encouraged to donate non-perishable festive treats to brighten up the Christmases of those in poverty. 

The donations will then be packaged into emergency parcels and distributed. 

Fansa said: “We urge anyone who wants to do something lovely this Christmas to donate to the reverse Advent calendar. It’s a really nice way to help. Or, setting up a direct debit with us and adding Gift Aid allows us to get 25 per cent extra of your donation at no extra cost, which really helps.” 

Hackney Foodbank has been supporting the community for 10 years and is a member of the Trussell Trust Foodbank Network. It aims to provide “a hunger-free Hackney, where everyone can afford to eat.” 

They are also encouraging people to run their own reverse advent calendar, in workplaces or amongst family and friends, and deliver it to the foodbank. 

The Cost of Living Crisis has affected both poverty and donation rates; Trust for London estimate that 25 per cent of Londoners now live in poverty. 

Fansa said: “Food donations are down 23 per cent. Those who usually donate to us and help out are finding it harder to give. It’s not unusual for us to have to do large food shops to meet the donation goals. 

“The need has risen 66 per cent between January and October compared to last year. In July this year, we had already fed the same amount of people as the whole of last year. There’s a huge demand in over 65-year-olds and single parent households. We meet people who are malnourished, who are living off cereal and Universal credit is simply not enough.” 

Donations can be accepted between 8.30am and 2pm from Monday to Friday at Hackney Foodbank Warehouse, Cherbury Street. 

Leave a Reply