Moosomin Food Share puts on Reverse Advent Calendar up until Christmas

November 22, 2022, 5:00 pm
Sierra D'Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

To encourage donations from the community during the winter season, Moosomin Food Share is putting on a Reverse Advent Calendar up until December 24, in hopes of stocking up on food items to help families throughout all of winter.

With more families and people to give to around the winter time, Moosomin Food Share is hosting a Reverse Advent Calendar to help with donations to give to people in the community.

The Reverse Advent Calendar has a food item matched to each day of the month to encourage people to add an item a day to a box at home. People can then bring the box of collected items over the 24 days to the food bank to help with its monthly food hampers.

“We started our Reverse Advent Calendar last year, just to see if it would take off during Covid because we weren’t really getting that many donations and people weren’t coming in to drop stuff off,” said Samantha Campbell, manager of the Moosomin Food Share.

“We saw another food bank do this so we thought we would give it a try. Last year we did have a few people participate and try it out.

“We had this one lady who wanted to teach her daughter about the importance of giving back. Instead of buying a present for them, this is what they did. Her daughter was seven years old and was really happy to be donating to the food bank. It was really good to see.”

Campbell said the items selected on the calendar are everyday food items that people can donate straight from their pantries at home.

“Because everyone has these items in the pantry or at home, our idea for it was that you can take an item out of your pantry and put it aside into a box,” she said.

“Or, if you’re at the grocery store and an item is on sale, grab one more of it to put it in your box. With those items, we thought people can drop it off daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or at the end of the 24 days when you have everything, you can just drop it off then.

“We are seeing low donations at this time, our hope was to inspire people to donate more and hopefully get us through, not just December, but the coming months of January, February and March, to help put us through and make it last a little more.”

Throughout the year, Moosomin Food Share provides monthly food hampers to about 30 families. Yet, during the holiday season, they see an increase of local people and families in need.

“We usually help between 20 to 30 families that we give hampers to a month,” said Campbell.

“Last month we had about 25 or 27 hampers. Christmas time we see at least 35 to 40, sometimes even more. Also at Christmas time they do get a bigger box of food.”

Campbell mentioned why it’s important for people to help out, if they can, with donations, especially around this time of the year.

“It’s so important. I like to say that you don’t expect to be in a situation needing a food bank, but times are tough and you never know if you lose your job tomorrow you could be the one to have to access that food bank,” she said.

“For you to think that you don’t need to give it because you’re not using it or you don’t know anyone who is, someday you might have to. This way it’s just giving, you’re sort of putting back into the community that you might need from, hopefully you don’t, but you just never know.

“This is a way to give back to those who do need it.”

Campbell said organizations and businesses are also encouraged to participate in this year’s Reverse Advent Calendar.

The food share used to use banana boxes and other recycled boxes for their monthly hampers, however Campbell said because of a grant they recently received, they were able to purchase reusable boxes for the hampers now.

“We actually got a grant from SaskTel that we were able to purchase some bins with, now everyone will be getting the same amount of food,” she said.

“Obviously families will still get a bigger portion, but with the boxes we had before some were smaller sizes and bigger sizes so we just filled them based on how big they were. This way everyone is going to get the same amount.

“They get the non-perishables, which are the soups and pastas. Then at Christmas time we add potatoes, Christmas oranges. We usually get someone to donate hams or turkeys, we’ll be reaching out to a few organizations for those.

“Then we do stuffing, some sort of dessert, coffee or tea, mixed vegetables, everything. Plus they’re still getting their milk, eggs, bread, and then we do the frozen foods they usually get.”

Campbell said the food items on the list are foods they go through every day and give out often.
“People can mix up the days. For example, on the first day if you don’t have a box of cereal sitting at home and you’re not going to the grocery store, but you have an extra peanut butter, you can switch the days,” she said.

“These are the types of foods we use the most often and at Christmas time as well. We’re just hoping we get enough food to carry us into the New Year as well, so that we’re not going to have to purchase it.”

Campbell said people can start collecting items from the Reverse Advent Calendar list as soon as they want, whether it’s in the middle of November or at the beginning of December.

People can find a copy of the calendar on the group’s Facebook page: Moosomin Thrift Store.