Napanee’s Morningstar Mission is looking to flip the script this holiday season, encouraging those who can to participate in a ‘Reverse Advent.’
Starting Dec. 1 through 14, participants will be asked to donate two food items a day.
“Individuals across the community are invited to sponsor a food basket,” explains Morningstar Mission executive director Kevin Alkenbrack. “They will add two items, non-perishable foods, snacks, small gifts to a basket or decorated box. We’ll give them a list of suggested items so this will ensure the balance between flexibility with giving but hopefully keep the baskets of similar quality.”
Completed boxes will then be dropped off at the Mission between Dec. 14-18 to ensure volunteers have enough time to coordinate delivery of the boxes to those in need ahead of Christmas.
The Reverse Advent is one way the Mission hopes to fill a void this holiday season. COVID-19 protocols have meant they are unable to continue the tradition of hosting a holiday meal at the Mission.
“Typically in the past what we’ve done is we would invite people to come and have a big meal,” said Alkenbrack, noting the Christmas season used to be the one time they’d deliver meals to people’s homes. In the wake of the pandemic however, meal deliveries have become an ongoing service they offer. “When clients would come (to the Christmas meal) we would try to have Christmas gifts for them. They would eat their meal and then we would bring them to another spot in the building and they’d be able to see what we have that was donated and then they would be able to have a special Christmas gift that made sense for them.”
Alkenbrack said those gifts could have been hats and mittens or toys for younger kids.
“We are not going to be able to do that this year so because of that we’re going to focus on the Advent Food Box,” said Alkenbrack. “So much of what we feel we can do well this year is around preparing meals for delivery so we’re going to really focus on an Advent Food Box.”
Those looking to take part in the Reverse Advent can check the Morningstar Mission’s Facebook page closer to December and they will post suggested items to be included in the food box.