We’ve added a reverse Advent Calendar to our repertoire to prepare for Christmas this year. It goes with the usual Advent wreath, Crib and Christmas tree. We’re looking forward to seeing how our new ‘tradition’ works out.
The idea isn’t original and I owe the image here to the blog of Marc Smith. Check out his site for more ideas.
Many families and schools in Perth have participated recently in a reverse Advent calendar, but this is the first year we’ve done it. Instead of removing items from a traditional Advent calendar, each day during the season before Christmas, a family or community adds a gift or food item to a basket.
We’ve decided to collect basic items for people who are homeless and sleeping rough in parks and streets. At the end of Advent, we’ll take our basket to Ruah Community Services. This organisation came to our notice recently when the Spirit of the Streets Choir sang at Homeless Connect Week.
Ruah works with severely disadvantaged people. It provides housing, community mental health services and support for individuals escaping domestic violence. It also supplies more basic services near Russell Park in Northbridge. These include a comfortable, relaxed drop-in-centre. Tea and coffee. Someone to talk to. Crisis intervention. Hot showers with clean towels, shampoo and soap.
We hope our reverse Advent calendar will result in a basket overflowing with shampoo, soap, conditioner, deodorants, shaving gear, toothpaste and brushes, sanitary protection, sponges, flannels, towels. It could even extend to women’s and men’s socks, jocks and knickers in all sizes. The word from Ruah is that they often need larger sizes. The gifts that will end up in the basket will be limited only by the creativity and imagination of the donors.
Reverse Advent calendar challenge
Here’s the challenge. Readers of this blog, their families, workplaces or schools could be involved in similar reverse Advent calendars. Together, we could change the culture of Christmas this year. Your small gifts might meet simple needs of those who have little. There are many organisations which provide on-the-ground care and assistance. They welcome money donations, of course. But other gifts are also important.
If any of my family or friends want to drop off items for Ruah, we’ll be delighted to add them to our basket.
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