Lent is traditionally a time of giving, praying and fasting, as we seek to transform our lives and the lives of others. Ffion Dean, our Web Editor, has been talking to CAFOD staff about their great ideas to live out our Lenten practice, and make a difference to the world’s poorest people.
Here at Romero House we’re excited about the fact that donations to CAFOD this Lent are being doubled by the UK government. We want to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity and have been putting our heads together to think of how we can raise as much money as possible between 18 February and 17 May.
Although I won’t be giving something up in the traditional Lent fashion, I’ve decided to double the time and effort I put into CAFOD fundraising through the medium of biscuits and cakes! I find spending an afternoon baking very relaxing, but I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like. I’m aiming to bake once a week during Lent and to sell to my creations to CAFOD colleagues. It’s going to be a great feeling knowing that every time someone spends £1 on a biscuit, the UK government will be putting another £1 in the fund towards CAFOD’s work to ensure the world’s poorest women, men and children are able to cope with the effects of storms, droughts and floods.
Mariacristina and Laura will also be joining me in doubling her baking. Laura says: “I’m expecting my second child in May so the thought of cutting something else out for Lent was just too much to bear. I have huge cravings for all things sweet – I have even found myself craving buttercream – so I’ve been making myself cupcakes as a treat. I also bake a lot for my 20-month-old son, Alfie so doubling my baking efforts was a very appealing idea. The fact that any money raised will be matched pound-for-pound by the UK government is an extra incentive.” Thinking of fundraising in your parish or school for Lent Fast Day on 27 February?
Take a look at our Lent Fast Day resources.
Looking after the climate at Lent
This Lent we’re sharing the stories of people like Kyin Nu from Myanmar who have suffered the effects of extreme weather and climate change. Two of my colleagues will be playing their part in tackling climate change by doubling their love and their cycling! Sarah works in our campaigns team, so has been spending a lot of time asking people to #showthelove for the things they could lose to climate change. She says: “I have decided to take up the challenge to ‘double the love’ for things that will be effected by climate change. I will trying at least two new things a week, from running home from work, to election hustings (using CAFOD’s election questions resources), to being vegan.”
Ellie will be getting healthy, helping the environment and donating money by getting on her bike. She says: “I’ve been meaning to start cycling to and from the office since I began working at CAFOD… that was four years ago. This Lent, however, I’m finally going to get back in the saddle. I’ll be saving around £15 a week by (more than) doubling my weekly cycling which I plan to donate to CAFOD’s work, and I have a great incentive to hop on my bike each morning as the UK government will be matching my donation pound for pound.”
Thinking of mothers and families around the world
Susie is also hoping to get healthier during Lent by cutting her calorie intake and doubling her exercise. She’s come up with an innovative way to keep motivated – she will be asking family, friends and colleagues to sponsor her for every 1lb she loses. Susie explains: “I’ve been blessed with three beautiful children, but I’ve also gained umpteen excess lbs. I’m also going to ‘match fund’ my weight loss by increasing my regular gift to CAFOD – pound (£) for pound (lb). Many mums around the world would be glad of one good meal a day, let alone three. So if I can trade in my fat to raise funds for CAFOD’s work with poor families, then a few weeks of Slimfast and swimming will be well worth it.”
And finally, meet Fiona, who has come up with the lovely idea of doubling the kindness within her home. She says: “I love my children and wouldn’t be without them. There are times in the day when my children argue with each other and sometimes I raise my voice (we have all done it). This Lent we are halving our shouting and doubling our kind words and if we forget we’ll be our pennies in the collection box! So while I hope we won’t be shouting or arguing, at least if we do, it will help end injustice and poverty for others.”
Double the impact
We’re all nervous about the Lent challenges we have set for ourselves. But we’re all determined to succeed because we know that UK government match funding means our fundraising will have double the impact, helping even more of our sisters and brothers living in extreme poverty. Read last week’s blog to find out how some of our colleagues are planning on reflecting and fundraising this Lent by cutting things out of their daily lives. Are you doubling anything or cutting something out for Lent this year? Let us know in the comment box below or on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Instagram. Keep visiting the blog during Lent to find out how we’re getting on with our personal Lent challenges. Watch some CAFOD members of staff talking about their cut it out and double it up Lent challenges: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4yBjrQCjxs&w=560&h=315]