Everyone I’ve spoken to lately have said they are feeling the pinch this Christmas.
So, spending money donating items to a food bank that you might be finding difficult to afford for your own family can seem like a really big ask when you feel like you’re struggling yourself.
BUT what if I told you that you can do a good deed without spending a penny?
Money-saving bloggers around the UK are once again championing the Reverse Advent Calendar and you can get involved, too.
What is a Reverse Advent Calendar?
A Reverse Advent Calendar is where you and your family put aside one thing each day in December and donate it to a food bank in time for Christmas.
You can choose whether to donate something each day like a traditional Advent Calendar or opt for a hamper as I have.
Why should I get involved?
Apart from the obvious of doing a good deed, this is a fantastic cause that will bring your family closer together and teach your kids an invaluable lesson about giving back to those in need.
You can turn it into a game to keep your whole family engaged and make your hamper up and drop it off together, making you feel all warm and fuzzy that you’ve helped a family who really need aid this Christmas!
What are food banks looking for?
Each food bank may vary slightly, but in general, they are looking for:
- Canned goods like soup, canned fruit, beans, etc.
- Nuts and seeds
- Meals in a can/box that have a long shelf life
- Fish/chicken in a tin
- Chocolate and sweets
- Baby food
- Pet food
I would tend to avoid too much junk food and things that can be complicated to open like cans that need a can opener or jars that may get broken in transit.
How can I donate for free?
This is my favourite part of a Reverse Advent Calendar – you don’t have to spend a penny!
There are a number of ways you can donate for free this December, and here are my favourite ways you can get involved.
Donate to food banks for free by raiding your kitchen cupboards
I’m pretty sure everyone in the UK has a tin of beans or a can of soup hiding in the back of their cupboard that they have no intention of using anytime soon.
You don’t even have to leave the house to get started on your Reverse Advent Calendar, just head to your kitchen and see what you have knocking about.
If it’s not your kitchen or you’re in a house share or something, don’t forget to ask before you take it for your donation hamper!
Download free supermarket cashback apps
In case you haven’t got the hint by now, I LOVE these apps!
We’ve saved SO MUCH money using these apps on our weekly shop and you can find some absolute gems to donate to your local food bank.
They have lots of free items on there and these apps upload new offers every day so keep an eye out for lots of fab freebies.
Last year, I picked up lots of festive freebies, including mince pies and Christmas puddings, perfect for a food hamper!
My favourite apps include:
- Quidco Click Snap
- Topcashback Snap N Save
- Green Jinn
Check out my complete beginner’s guide to supermarket cashback apps now to help you start collecting those foodie freebies.
Collect coupons & vouchers to donate food this Christmas
Similar to cashback apps, there are loads of vouchers and coupons that offer freebies, especially around this time of year!
You can find vouchers almost anywhere if you look hard enough, but my favourite places to score coupons are:
- In magazines and newspapers
- Go directly to your favourite brand or company’s website
- On social media – on brand’s pages or sponsored ads
- Sites like Super Savvy Me
and loads more!
If you time it right you can combine offers so even if a coupon is only £1 off, if the product is on offer in store for a £1, that makes it free.
I’ll do a post soon on the best places to find these and how to claim ?
Pick up freebies on your phone apps
O2 Priority and Wuntu by Three offer a bag load of freebies throughout the year, but they are especially generous at Christmas.
You can get all sorts of treats, like selection boxes and chocolate coins from shops like Hotel Chocolat, Thorntons, and WHSmith.
Brands like Halfords also offer useful car freebies like anti-freeze and car scrapers, which can also be donated.
These are so easy to claim, too! Just pop into your shop, open your app and show them your unique code and they’ll give you your item, totally free.
Use your loyalty points to collect free stuff to donate
If you’re a fan of swiping your Nectar or Tesco Clubcard every time you shop like me, you’ll have racked up plenty of points throughout the year.
What better way to give something back by picking up a few own brand bits and bobs to contribute?
You can also get loads more like baby food, toiletries, stocking fillers like chocolate, and anything else you think might help make someone’s Christmas, as you’re not as limited as you are with coupons for specific products.
Sign up for product testing sites & share your freebies
Product testing sites like The Insider and Bzzagent are always offering trials for users in exchange for feedback.
Quite often, these sites will send you loads of products to share with your friends and family.
If you’re already a member or would like to sign up and you do receive loads of products, why not share the wealth this Christmas?
I don’t have a food bank near me, can I donate to another charity?
Of course! You can donate to a range of charities at Christmas.
Different charities ask for a variety of items so make sure you double check before you start your Reverse Advent Calendar.
Here is a list from Good To Know: