By ANISAH ARIF

Bradford Council staff have collectively come together to lead on the idea of creating ‘reverse advent calendars’ in order to raise donations for the Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank.

A reverse advent calendar is about instead of eating a piece of chocolate every day, people are being asked to donate non-perishable goods such as tins of soup, pasta, long life milk, cereals or toiletries to the local food bank in order to help families struggling to provide the basics for their families at this time of year.

When the Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank started in 2002 it gave out around 28 food parcels a month. Since then as people are turning to food banks more and more frequently in need of help, there has been a sharp rise in the need for basic food items from people living in the Bradford district. The Food Bank now donates around 1,100 parcels a month.

During November and December, many staff across the whole of Bradford Council have been getting involved in collecting ‘reverse advent calendar’ items within their own teams and fully getting behind this invaluable source of support for people in our district.

This week a large collection of items were collected by the Food Bank from Margaret McMillan Tower, where all the collection boxes were brought from various Council buildings ready to be distributed to those families most in need.

The Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank is run entirely on support from volunteers.

Neil Terry, a member of staff in the Youth Offending Team who set up the idea of the reverse advent calendars, and has collected the items for his team, said: “The support we have had from staff and the Council as a whole has been overwhelming. When we came up with the idea I thought that just a few people in my team would support it, but then I heard that other teams were all doing the same too.

“The word then spread and food donation boxes were set up in staff kitchens in Council buildings, at full Council meetings and one member of staff has even been selling samosas and approaching local businesses for items to give to the food bank.”

‘Working in Children’s Social Care, we are all too aware of the impact austerity is having on the people of Bradford, and we know that many families that are on the breadline this year will struggle to put food on the table this Christmas. We hope this brightens many families lives over Christmas and they know that people do care.’

Councillor Adrian Farley, Portfolio Holder for Children and Families, said: “Many families living in Bradford district will not be gearing up for the Christmas they would hope for, many will be struggling to provide for their basic needs which is why charities such as the Food Bank are so vitally important.

“The huge support we have seen from across Council and beyond has demonstrated how much support there is to help other people less fortunate within our communities.”

Bradford Council regularly supports donations to the Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank throughout the year.