This Reverse Advent Calendar Food Bank Challenge Is the Reason for the Season

Are you feeling up to a challenge? The Food Bank of North Alabama is hosting a Reverse Advent Calendar Challenge this year, and it’s a great thing for families to do together. It’s fun, creative, and you can help others in your community while practicing the real reason for the season with your kids. Classrooms, school clubs, Scout groups, and church groups can also participate – see how many your group can create & deliver!

How Does a Reverse Advent Calendar Work?

Shirley Schofield, the executive director of the FBNA, said the idea originally came from one of their supporters. “We were contacted by someone interested in doing a reverse advent calendar on behalf of the Food Bank, and we thought it was a great idea. So many people are interested in sharing their good fortune with our neighbors in need during the holiday season. This is an easy yet meaningful way for people and families to really embrace the season of giving. “

The idea behind this Reverse Advent Calendar is that you decorate a box and put one non-perishable food item in it for each day of Advent (a can of cranberry sauce, a box of stuffing, etc.). At the end of those 24 days, you donate the box to the Food Bank of North Alabama in Huntsville.

Get Started: In order for the food to go out before Christmas, you would need to start the Reverse Advent Food Challenge no later than November 15, 2019. Of course, you can always start before then!


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Decorate Your Box: You can find a new box at any office supply store, or re-use one you already have. Just keep in mind you’ll be collecting at least 24 items in it so make sure it’s big enough. You can also buy or make an ornament box with 24 sections that are big enough to fit a can.

Cover your box in holiday paper like a present, or wrap in butcher paper and draw, paint, or decorate it any way you please! Groups might want to theme their box around their organization. The Food Bank will choose the best decorated box and the winner will be highlighted across all of their social media platforms.

Be sure each square is big enough to fit a canned food item!

What Kind of Food Is Needed?

It’s always fun to include your favorite foods for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner! Make a list and let your kids pick out their favorite dishes at the grocery store to add to your box. Letting kids choose what is included gives them more ownership of the project and every time they enjoy that macaroni & cheese or mashed potatoes they will think of the food box.


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Our friends at the Passionate Penny Pincher has a great free printable you can use!

You don’t have to stick to just traditional Thanksgiving dinner items. The Food Bank of North Alabama always needs the following:

  • Canned meat or fish like chicken or tuna
  • Canned vegetables
  • Peanut butter
  • Soups, chili or stew
  • Paper products (towels & toilet paper, diapers)
  • Dinner kits (Hamburger Helper, rice, noodles, etc.)
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Canned fruits
  • Diapers of all kinds, especially larger sizes

Don’t Include These Items:


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  • Home-canned items such as preserves and sauces
  • Cans that are deeply dented, bulging, leaking or very rusty
  • Bottles or jars that are leaking or have broken seals

Finally, Deliver Your Box: If you decide to participate in the Challenge, be sure to go ahead and mark your calendar now for November 15th and make plans to swing by the FBNA to drop it off by that date. For more information and specifics, please email the Food Bank of North Alabama at communityrelations@fbofna.org.

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