Monday, November 28, 2005

Advent Sharing Calendar

History will likely remember 2005 as the Year of the Environmental Refugee. The year that began with the clean-up from the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, was punctuated by the worst hurricane record in history. By autumn, the devastating earthquake in Pakistan had been added to list. At last count, tens of thousands are dead and many millions more are homeless.

The Advent Sharing Calendar reminds us how blessed we are, and helps us to make room in our hearts and our budgets for those who have lost so much. To create your own Advent Sharing Calendar, take a small box or coffee can, put a slot in the lid, and then wrap the container in Christmas paper. Monetary gifts are added every day until the Epiphany (January 6th), when you send your donations to the charity of your choice.

Gifts should be added as follows:

December 1st ~ If your home is untouched by wind or water damage, put a loonie in the box.

December 2nd ~ Add another loonie if your tap water is safe. An estimated one billion people do not have safe drinking water.

December 3rd ~ Add 10 cents for every meal that you've eaten today.

December 4th ~ Add $ 1.00 if you have a family doctor.

December 5th ~ Add $ 2.00 if you have paid your doctor a visit in the last month. In Canada, we have 229.1 doctors per 100,000 people. Pakistan has only 60 doctors for the same number of people.

December 6th ~ Add $ 1.00 for everyone you know with HIV. In 2005, there are an estimated 40.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS.

December 7th ~ If you live above sea level, add $ 1.00. The World Health Organization estimates that 150,000 people will die this year as a result of global warming. Many of them will drown in low-lying coastal areas.

December 8th ~ Add 5 cents for every year of your life untouched by natural disasters.

December 9th ~ Add 25 cents for every member of your family who has reached adulthood.

December 10th ~ Add another 25 cents for everyone who has reached adulthood without serious illness or injury.

December 11th ~ Add a loonie for every child in your house who has been vaccinated against major childhood diseases.

December 12th ~ If you have had a permanent address for more than six months, add 50 cents. Over one billion people on the planet lack adequate housing. Over 100 million have no housing whatsoever.

December 13th ~ If you own your own home, add $ 1.00.

December 14th ~ Add 10 cents for every warm coat that you own. Many of the refugees in Pakistan are facing a winter without shelter or warm clothing.

December 15th ~ Add 5 cents for every scarf, hat and pair of mitts or gloves that you own.

December 16th ~ Add 25 cents if you have warm winter boots.

December 17th ~ Add 10 cents for every day this month that you haven't gone to bed hungry.

December 18th ~ Add another 25 cents for every day this week that you've had dessert.

December 19th ` Add a loonie for everyone in your house who has completed high school.

December 20th ~ Add a twonie for anyone who has graduated college or university.

December 21st ~On this, the darkest day of the year, add 2 cents for every light bulb in your house. Don’t forget your Christmas lights!

December 22nd ~ If you are free to visit with friends and family this Christmas, add $ 1.00.

December 23rd ~ Add $ 1.00 if you have a phone that works. Add 50 cents for every cell phone in your family.

December 24th ~ Add 25 cents for every Christmas gift that you purchased this year.

December 25th ~ If your family celebrates Christmas Day with a sumptuous feast, add $ 5.00. One billion people suffer from obesity in the developed world. In the developing world, one billion people are starving.

December 26th ~ Add 50 cents for every gift you received this Christmas

December 27th ~ If you did not recycle Christmas wrappings and boxes, add $ 1.00.

December 28th ~ If you have a drug plan, add $ 1.00.

December 29th ~ If you have a pension plan, add $ 2.00.

December 30th ~ If you have every collected employment insurance or disability benefits, add $ 2.00.

December 31st ~ Add 10 cents for every day in December that you lived in Peace.

January 1st ~ Add $ 5.00 if you look forward to a New Year of Peace.

January 2nd ~ Add 50 cents for every member of your family who received a flu shot this winter.

January 3rd ~ Add 50 cents for every member of your family who has lived past 70 years of age.

January 4th ~ Consider how fortunate you are. And then consider that 600 million children live in merciless poverty.

January 5th ~ Sit down with your family and decide where you would like to send the contents of your Advent Sharing box. Suggestions include:
International Red Cross
Doctors without Borders

January 6th ~ (The Epiphany) ~ Add up the contents of your box and then send a cheque to the charity of your choice.


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