Rachel Simkin is CAFOD’s World Gifts Co-ordinator. She was inspired to share the story of 10-year-old Florence, who set herself a fundraising quest to buy World Gifts knowing they would bring a smile to others.
When I first heard about Florence’s quest to fundraise for World Gifts, I found it inspiring to hear of her energy and was delighted that she was encouraging so many to join her quest. Then I was even more amazed when I learnt she was just 10 years old!
Florence is one of CAFOD’s youngest local volunteers and has succesfuly inspired her Rotherham community to buy World Gifts to help communities across the world.
Young Florence first got the idea while listening attentively to her priest, Father Dee, at Mass. He had just been bought a goat from CAFOD’s World Gifts range as a thank you present.
“I thought it was an awesome idea,” said Florence. “I really wanted to help people who didn’t have what I have got. Last Christmas, I asked my friends at school to make a donation instead of sending Christmas cards to each other. I made a speech after Mass and told the parishioners I would be selling raffle tickets and the winner of the raffle would get to choose the animal’s name.
But Florence didn’t stop at Christmas; she decided to volunteer for CAFOD and organise more events throughout this year to encourage her fellow pupils to fundraise and learn about others across the world.
“I was so pleased I started to think what else I could do. I asked Mrs Thomas, my headmistress, if I could organise a sponsored run and she agreed, so I started to plan it. Different years ran on different days until all the years had taken part. Everybody was so kind and the total raised was £320, enough to buy a pig, a donkey, a school starter kit and a gift to teach someone how to read.
“At school, we are working hard to be a Rights Respecting school. I am part of the leadership team and I believe everyone has the right to clean water, nutritious food and a clean and safe environment to live in.
“I am now in my second year as a CAFOD volunteer and I would say, if you have any ideas on how to volunteer, just go for it. I’m pleased I did.”
In Florence’s short time fundraising, she has thoroughly enjoyed buying World Gifts as presents for others. Despite her young age she recognises the valuable difference a small gift will have on the lives of others. This is what inspires her to continue her fundraising quest.
CAFOD is celebrating twelve years of World Gifts, which were established to help make a difference to people living in poverty. The scheme has raised over £12 million with CAFOD supporters buying thousands of gifts. These include 103,000 school starter kits, 46,000 goats, 38,000 chickens and 3,000 queen bees. Last year alone, communities in England and Wales taught over 4,000 people to read through fundraising for World Gifts.