‘Reverse advent calendar’ launched by foodbank to ask for gifts for those in need

Sabrina Barr

A foodbank has turned the festive tradition of advent calendars on its head by asking for people to donate daily gifts for those in need in the lead-up to Christmas.

Provide Devon, a foodbank based in Honicknowle, Plymouth, launched its “reverse advent calendar” on Sunday 1 December.

The organisation has arranged for donation boxes to be placed in almost all Co-op stores across the city of Plymouth, of which there are 23, in addition to in libraries and local businesses.

The foodbank is asking people to buy items of food as they shop in the Co-op supermarkets and then drop them in donation boxes as they leave over the course of December.

The donations will then be distributed to needy families in desperate need of food.


Ayshea Cross, charity manager at Provide Devon, explained that the organisation is like an “ambulance service for families forced to go hungry”.

Different kinds of organisations, including schools and charities who support people who have lost their home, reach out the charity when it is discovered that families are not obtaining a sufficient amount of food.

Provide Devon works with services such as the NHS to identify people who are in crisis.

“They contact and we then deliver a package of food as soon as possible, including other essentials such as toiletries where we can,” Ms Cross said.

“Nobody should be forced to go hungry, least of all at Christmas when demand for our services is often at its highest. Please, please donate food if you can to our reverse advent calendar.”

Ms Cross added that keeping the food shelves at Provide Devon stocked for needy families is “an extremely tough challenge”.

The charity accepts donations in the form of food and cash. You can donate by visiting their website providedevon.org.uk.

Last month, The Independent launched its latest Christmas campaign, this year focusing on homelessness.

In partnership with the Evening Standard, The Independent will be spending the coming months focusing on – and raising funds for – those who do not have a permanent place to call home.

To read more about the campaign, which includes the establishment of The Homeless Fund, click here.

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