While food bank use is on the rise throughout the year in the UK, in the two weeks before Christmas, the Trussell Trust typically sees a 45% spike in referrals to its network of food banks for three-day emergency food parcels.
With that in mind, the congregation of St Mary’s Beeston are contributing each Sunday in December to a Reverse Advent Calendar.
Vicar of Beeston, the Revd Lindsey Pearson, says, “Instead of opening a window and getting a chocolate, we’re inviting everyone to give something for the food bank this Advent - everyday items - not specifically Christmas things.
"People have really engaged with it as something very positive and practical they can do to help others at this time of year.
"We’ve given each Sunday of Advent a particular theme according to a particular bible verse:
First Sunday - cleanliness
Psalm 51v10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Donate: soap, shower gel, toothpaste/brush, shampoo, washing powder/liquid, etc.
Second Sunday - flavour
Psalm 34v8: “Come taste and see that the Lord He is good.”
Donate: Beans, tinned tuna, beef stew, tomatoes, soup, packets of pasta/rice.
Third Sunday - drink
John 4v14: “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
Donate: squash, tea, coffee, UHT milk, chocolate drink, sugar, juice (no alcohol).
Fourth Sunday - sweets
Psalm 16v24: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Donate: rice pudding, tinned fruit, jelly, angel delight, custard, chocolate, biscuits, cake.