Print your reverse advent calender to help those who would otherwise go hungry

(Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

(Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire) - Credit: PA

Foodbanks in Norwich, Cromer, King's Lynn and Thetford are putting a warm-hearted spin on a festive tradition by asking people to fill their own 'reverse advent calendar' with food items for those in need. Make sure you download and print our handy calender to help you along the way.

Advent foodbank graphic

Advent foodbank graphic - Credit: Archant

Rather than removing a daily treat, the Foodbanks are asking kind-hearted people to add an item of non-perishable food to a box each day in the lead up to Christmas which can then be delivered to distribution centres by December 1 in time for the boxes to be distributed to those in need before Christmas.

The festive period can be a difficult time for individuals and families who live on extremely tight budgets and find themselves facing increased winter fuel bills which leave them choosing between heating or eating. Keeping warm can mean a family being pushed into a food crisis.

Donations made to Foodbanks are used to provide three days of nutritionally-balanced, emergency food for people in crisis who have been referred by frontline professional agencies such as Citizens Advice or social services.

Hannah Worsley, Norwich Foodbank project manager, said that the city's resource had given out enough food last year to feed almost 8,700 people for three days each, a total of around 70 tonnes of food. Additionally, baby items and toiletries were donated for those in crisis.

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'Last December we gave out food parcels for more than 1,000 people,' she said, 'historically, December is often a Foodbank's busiest month due to added pressure on family budgets with extra heating expenses, children being off school and the desire and expectation to buy presents. One mum last year, after receiving a food parcel and Christmas goodies, said 'it's amazing and comforting knowing that in the hard times we have had there are people who care and have so much kindness in their hearts.'

'Last year, Norwich Foodbank was very well supported with Christmas donations, but many of the festive treats such as mince pies, Christmas cake and chocolate came in very close to Christmas week, when parcels and Christmas goody-bags had been packed and sent to distribution centres, ready for clients to collect with an agency-issued voucher.

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'This is why we have joined with others in the county to promote the Reverse Advent Calendar campaign, where items are given each day from November 7 and then some of the Foodbank's most needed items, combined with festive treats, can be donated from December 1, plenty of time to be sorted, packed and given out to those in need.'

Foodbanks are asking donors to give storecupboard staples, such as long-life fruit juice, tinned meat, bags of sugar, pasta sauce, instant mash, instant coffee and tinned tomatoes, in addition to festive treats.

The Foodbanks in the county come under the umbrella of The Trussell Trust, a Christian charity which oversees the running of more than 400 banks across the country. Non-perishable food is donated by schools, churches, businesses and individuals, volunteers sort the food and pack it into boxes for people in need, professionals identify families and individuals in crisis and issue Foodbank vouchers and then clients bring vouchers to centres where they are redeemed for three days' worth of emergency food.

Find out where to drop your reverse advent calendars (please contact to arrange a convenient time):

Cromer and District Foodbank Cromer Methodist Church Hall, Corner of West Street and Hall Road, Cromer, NR27 9DT, email, call 07826 376343.

Norwich Foodbank Henderson Business Centre, 52 Ivy Road, Norwich, NR5 8BF, email, call 01603 251733.

Thetford Foodbank Charles Burrell Centre, Staniforth Road, Thetford, IP24 3LH, email, call 0844 288 9618

King's Lynn Foodbank The Red Cross Headquarters, Austin Fields, King's Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 1PH, email, call 07582 558143.

For more information about your local Foodbank, visit

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