Caroline Collins is a Step into the Gap volunteer at Newman University in Birmingham. This week she is getting ready for Family Fast Day.
At Newman University we have been preparing to swap our usual Friday lunch boxes for a simple soup lunch.
For so many of our brothers and sisters around the world, the harvest determines whether their families will go to bed hungry tonight.
For Lilian in Zambia, a good harvest is so important. It means she can feed herself and her family in the coming months, and sell any extra food to buy school clothes, books and materials to build a home.
CAFOD’s World News Manager, Nana Anto-Awuakye explains how your donations for Family Fast Day will instill hope into those that see eating as a luxury.
On Sunday 23 September, pottering about in the kitchen, my constant companion – the radio – informs me that this very day is the autumn equinox, when day and night meet as equals, the official start of autumn.
I glance out through the kitchen window onto my garden, and see that the leaves are already falling, and turning their magnificent autumn yellows, browns and berry colours.
Emily is training as a CAFOD young leader volunteer in Portsmouth Diocese. Alongside other young leaders, this Harvest she spoke up for CAFOD at her school by running an assembly. Their assembly helped fundraise a record amount!
CAFOD’s Brighten Up campaign this Harvest was an opportunity for all of us involved in the CAFOD young leadership programme at my college to co-ordinate our own fundraising in aid of CAFOD’s work, focusing on their partnership in Bolivia.
By using an assembly and service as our main means of communication to students and staff at our school, we were able to get across the message of CAFOD in such a positive way and give CAFOD a new face at our school. By literally trying to Brighten Up this Harvest, we encouraged our student body to all wear scarves to our Harvest Festival whilst giving charitable donations which made for a much ‘brighter’ day!
Laura Ouseley works in CAFOD’s Media team. This Harvest, inspired by the efforts of our partners in Bolivia, Laura tells us about her own struggles for vegetable garden bliss.
I’ve only had my allotment a couple of years, but have already learnt so much. My friends and family have also learnt – the hard way – that it is now my favourite (and they would argue, only) topic of conversation!
Whilst I’ve discovered so much about the different varieties of fruit and vegetables that can be grown, I’ve learnt far more about the challenges faced by the grower: from fighting back pests, preventing the spread of disease, removing stubborn weeds and preparing soil, to trying to deal with the impacts of unpredictable weather and climate.
Catherine Gorman works in CAFOD’s Theology Programme. She reflects on a request from Vladimir in Bolivia that we pray for him and his family this Harvest.
“If people in England and Wales were able to pray for us, we’d like them to pray for our dreams to come true and that our work isn’t in vain, but that what we wish for our land will come true.” Vladimir, 25, Bolivia
Three CAFOD volunteers from the Northampton diocese share their experience of preparing for Harvest Fast Day.
Mike Coote from St Teresa’s, Beaconsfield said:
Every year when my Fast Day pack arrives and the autumn leaves start to turn brown, I know it is time to start planning Harvest Fast Day. It is usually a meal where we share homemade soup and bread and people in the congregation make donations to CAFOD.
I am always really excited when my Fast Day pack arrives, I make sure that I put it at the back of the parish so that everyone can read about CAFOD when they leave and over the past few years, the simple poster has grown to a display which is visible from most places in the church. This way people can learn all about the fast day in more detail and they can really see who the appeal helps.
CAFOD’s World News Manager, Nana Anto-Awuakye has returned from Ethiopia where ten million people currently face extreme hunger. She visited CAFOD’s partners in the northeast of the country to see how they are trying to tackle the devastating effects of the worst drought the country has seen in 30 years.
It is truly shocking to hear a mother talk about her children going hungry, to say that she can’t remember the last time she was able to feed her children three meals a day.
Last month, I was in Ethiopia’s north eastern region, where I met mothers who told me that they, along with millions of others, are facing severe hunger because of food shortages brought on by drought.