They’re collecting boxes until December 20
In the festive spirit of giving, two Derby lads have organised their own ‘reverse’ advent calendar to help disadvantaged people in Derby.
The challenge is similar to a traditional advent calendar, except rather than gobbling down chocolate every day, the duo are asking people to give something away.
The pair, who are based in Chaddesden, came up with the idea in early October after reading about similar ‘reverse advent calendar’ schemes in other parts of the UK.
Co-organiser Rich Vickers, 35, said: “The idea is that you take a box and put 24 items in it, one for each day of an advent calendar and then when your box is full, we will come and collect it.”
Along with his pal, Earl Richards, the two-man team will be handing the completed boxes out to homeless people on the street and contacting people in need through charities.
They will also be getting in touch with disadvantaged families, people who are living in housing agency homes and children in care.
When a video they put on Facebook sharing their idea reached more than 5,000 views, Rich said the whole thing “spiralled from there.”
“It made me think we can do something with that, we can take it to another level and use it in a positive way,” said Rich.
Earl and Rich post regularly on their Facebook page and have created a video which gives an example of which items can go in a box.
They’ve also written a day-by-day list of suggestions, including useful things like toothpaste and woolly gloves.
There are also more comforting treats like hot chocolate sachets and biscuits.
Last year, seven people died while living on the streets in Derby – the highest number of deaths since recording began in 2013.
As the coldest winter months draw in, homeless people and those in poverty or insecure housing are increasingly more vulnerable.
Rich said: “There are people a lot worse off than us, now we are in a more fortunate position we should be giving back.
“I’ve got something to give, if I can make a difference I really should be doing something.”
The reverse advent challenge is just the first step in what the friend’s hope will be a career in charity work.
Earl, 34, has been working with homeless people extensively for the past few years and hopes to make it a “full-time thing.”
Rich has said he wants to make his own construction training school which helps homeless people get back into work.
“My best friend was a heroin addiction since he was 15, it’s only in the past 18 months that he’s sorted himself out and all he needed was a helping hand,” he said.
To make a difference to people in need this Christmas, all you have to do is find a cardboard box and start filling it up.
Once your box is complete, label it with either ‘male’ or ‘female’ and the age range. Then, message the Reverse Advent Challenge Facebook page to come and pick it up.
Rich and Earl will be collecting boxes right up until December 20.
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