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Reverse Advent Calendar

Many of us have seen and used a traditional Advent Calendar.  In it, we count down the days until Christmas by opening a window on a paper calendar each day, to reveal a new surprise.  Whether it be a Bible verse, scene of the Nativity, stickers, candy, or small toys, each day is a new discovery.

This year, consider participating in a reverse Advent Calendar.  Rather than opening a window to take something each day, this Advent Calendar encourages giving.  

How Does a Reverse Advent Calendar Work?

  1. Provide participants with a calendar that lists a Scripture verse, and a shopping list of common items needed by food pantries, one item for each day of Advent.  (See below for an example.)
  2. Participating families provide a box or bag. They might want to decorate it.
  3. Each day of Advent, they read and reflect on the Scripture verse, pray for those who have such basic needs, and put the item indicated on the calendar by in the box or bag.
  4. Immediately after Christmas, the collected items are gathered at the parish or location sponsoring the reverse Advent calendar.
  5. The sponsoring organization then takes the items to a local food bank or other organization. (These should be identified in advance so you can find out what they would like you to collect.)

What to Donate and What to Avoid

See some tips on what food banks are looking for. Also know what type of items and packaging to avoid. Always skip items needing refrigeration, expired food, and homemade foods.

Advent Wreath
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The Advent Wreath

An Advent Wreath is another beautiful way to celebrate this season. See some tips and a printable scripture calendar here.

Corporal Works of Mercy

Feeding the hungry is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy. These are acts of charity which show our love for those on the margins. Learn more.

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