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Advent in Reverse

by Michael Ford last modified 18 Dec, 2020 09:00 PM

It's been said many times, "It's better to give than to receive." Many of our parishes and schools reflect this philosophy as a matter of course, serving their local communities in many ways.

As Advent time approached, many of us were thinking about Advent Calendars and preparing for Christmas, the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

In Dorset, Manor Park First School took this to a new level.

RE, Collective Worship and SMSC Leader Mel Wall says:

"As a school community this year, we wanted to do things a little differently so went about organising a Reverse Advent Calendar showing compassion for others and giving rather than receiving.

"We are working together, alongside 3 local churches, to create small gift bags to give to the elderly or those isolated in our local community at Christmas who may be on their own at home or in a local care home. Each bag will contain a small toiletry item such as shower gel, talc or hand cream, plus a small box or bar of chocolate and possibly a small individual Christmas cake or similar. They will also include a card handmade by the children in school.

Advent in Reverse- sweet treats

"At the beginning of lockdown we very quickly became aware that there were many families that were struggling both financially and emotionally within our Manor Park School community, and wanted to help alleviate some of the strain through these difficult times. Our first thought was to set up a food bank which the staff also rallied around and contributed towards.

"With the ever growing need for finances to support this we set up a JustGiving page. People within the school and wider community donated to this, allowing us to provide regular weekly food parcels which also contained toiletry items. Members of the school delivered these parcels throughout the lockdown and summer period.

"After the closure of our JustGiving page, we were able to obtain some grant funding which has enabled us to continue this much-needed facility through to Christmas, being able to provide Christmas Hampers to some of our families and hopefully continue to support with food parcels into the New Year.

"Everyone deserves a little piece of Christmas cheer and this year more than ever. Each child is making a card for the households in the community around our school, spreading the good news of our Saviour’s birth at this special time of year."

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