Second Harvest Community Food Bank is creatively gathering food for the holidays with its own spin on the traditional Advent calendar.

Each day, participants are asked to place an item into a box and then on Thursday, Dec. 19, to drop the box off at Second Harvest, 915 Douglas St. The project will help fill food pantries located inside middle and high schools in the region.

Canned vegetables, applesauce, cereal and peanut butter are among the items to be collected to fill the “calendar.” After the items are received, they will end up in the campus cupboard program, according to Children’s Initiative Coordinator Jackie Auxier.

“We have a pantry on site at the school,” Auxier said. “It’s usually a small room or a closet ... and then the kids can have food on Fridays to feed the whole family for the weekend.”

There are 23 campus cupboards in Second Harvest’s coverage area, which includes 19 counties.

The pantries don’t have any limitations. Anyone who requests to use them is allowed to take food home to their families.

“Anyone that needs help can use the campus cupboard,” Auxier said. “No stipulations at all.”

To view the Advent calendar, go to, click the “News & Events” tab, then click “Event Calendar.” Inside the calendar is a link “Food For The Holidays — Food Drive” which will take you to the item list.

Second Harvest also will be giving out Christmas boxes for the first time ever this year. The event is similar to its turkey distribution on Super Turkey Day.

The box distribution day, to be known as “Christmas Wing-Ding” will take place between 8:30 and 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20, at Second Harvest.

A voucher is required to participate. Those can be obtained from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 4 and 5, at Second Harvest.

“They’ll get a turkey and then a box of food ... with dessert and vegetables and potatoes and gravy, and stuff like that,” Auxier said.

Ryan Hennessy can be reached at Follow him on twitter: @NPNowHennessy.