Get your pack on for Advent

During Advent the families of St John’s wanted to do something where their children could think about giving to those in need. The practice of alms giving during Advent is long established as part of preparing for the coming of the baby Jesus. 

Don't feel you need to be a child to take part - everybody is welcome to pack a backpack - do it with friends if you like.


Many children receiving Mary’s Meals don’t have basic learning tools such as pencils and notepads. You can support them to get the most out of their lessons by donating a backpack full of the things they need. For many, a Mary’s Meals backpack will be the only gift they’ll have ever had. Since The Backpack Project began in 2005, more than 450,000 filled backpacks have sent from supporters across the UK and Ireland to children receiving Mary’s Meals.

Follow these links to find out more about Mary's Meals and their Backpack project.

What to do?

You could simply put a bag together all at once following the instructions below, or you could do a 'reverse advent calendar' following these instructions

  • Get a good quality backpack and fill it with the items on the list below under 'what do I need to pack?'
  • Clothing for children aged between 4 and 12 years is suitable.
  • Second-hand items are fine if they are fine if they are in good condition.
  • Please label your backpack to indicate whether it is suitable for a boy or girl, and suggest what age.
  • Please don’t include any liquids (including liquid soap) and don’t be tempted to add any other gifts such as toys or sweets, as these can cause problems with Customs during delivery.

What do I need to pack?

  • Notepad
  • Pens, pencils, crayons
  • Eraser, ruler, sharpener, pencil case
  • towel
  • shorts or skirt, t-shirt or dress
  • Flip-flops or sandals
  • Soap, toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Small ball
  • Spoon

What do I do once I've packed a backpack?

We will collect the bags at St John’s up until Christmas Eve (Saturday 24th, 2016) at 4pm

So get packing!