In the immortal words of the wise poet Cliff Richard in the Christmas classic Mistletoe and Wine, Christmas is a time for giving.
It’s a sentiment that seems to be popular with many people around Manchester this year, as the #reverseadventcalendar sweeps the city.
The idea of a reverse advent calendar is to put aside one item every day throughout December and donate it to someone less fortunate.
Barakah Food Aid is one small but mighty organisation coordinating reverse advent calendar donations and turning them into Christmas hampers for families in south Manchester.
They club together with the local community to give out full Christmas hampers containing food with all the trimmings and gifts for children, irrespective of background, or indeed, their beliefs.
Muhammad Manzoor Ali, who is one half of the husband and wife team behind Barakah, says: “As a Muslim family running Barakah Food Aid, we still ensure that those families who would like to celebrate Christmas but can’t because of their financial situation have everything that they need.
“Every year we aim to provide the full Christmas experience to those who without us would have no Christmas dinner or presents to open.
“It has been a tough year for a lot of families, and we as a community want to make it have a happier ending.”
Now in its fourth year, the Christmas Hamper appeal is gaining traction, but is still reliant on the generosity of others to reach its potential.
“We give free turkeys, decorations, presents; everything that family needs to celebrate so they don’t miss a trick on Christmas day.
“Last year we provided for nearly 50 families and 100 children and we think it will be similar numbers again this year.
“All money donated goes straight to buying food and gifts. As a charity we have no overheads; but we can’t do it without you.”
Suggested donation items include stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, Yule Log and any other festive savoury snacks, nuts, fruits and biscuits – as well as toiletries and children’s toys.
Donations of wrapping paper, gift bags, tags, tape and gift cards are also gratefully received, to add the finishing touches to the parcels.
Manzoor continued: “It’s absolutely important that people donate what they can, without that we couldn’t operate.
“But more importantly it’s a way of giving back and helping our neighbours. You just don’t know who your donation will help; so many are struggling and suffering in silence.”
Search the hashtag #reverseadventcalendar and start your own today – it’s not too late!