What are you doing to Brighten Up this Harvest Fast Day?

Jenny Seymour is a Schools Volunteer in CAFOD Hallam and is asking schools to Brighten up this Harvest Fast Day

Tomorrow (Friday October 6th) is CAFOD’s Harvest Fast Day.  Following the huge success of our previous fast day campaigns, we are asking school children and their teachers to “Brighten Up” for Harvest and we have had some amazing results!

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Some children are wearing their brightly coloured PE t-shirts (as they are all in bright colours to signify their “house”) and other schools have truly embraced the Brighten Up theme and are having a sponsored “colour splash” – I am told this involves bright coloured powder paint and a very brave headteacher!!!  You can download your very own fundraising kit – with sponsorship forms and press release templates here.

This year’s assembly is great, as it sees us revisit the children of El Salvador that were in need of CAFOD’s help some years ago and it shows how CAFOD (with your support) has helped their communities (and in turn them as individuals) to grow out of poverty and be in a much better place to achieve their dreams!

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What are you and your school doing to brighten up the world this Harvest Fast Day?  Please do post your photos on our facebook page and don’t forget to tag us on your twitter feeds!

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Schools volunteers will be visiting schools this half term and delivering the harvest fast day assembly – Book a Harvest Fast Day visit now!

Holy Rood collecting for Harvest

Jeremy Cain, Community Participation Coordinator (CPC) for Hallam diocese, tells us the best thing about his job.

Yesterday was a good day. Not quite a getting married/having a baby/winning the lottery sort of day, but pretty good nonetheless.

Mother and baby

Khawla and her new baby, Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Arguably, the work of a CPC is not at the glamorous end of the CAFOD spectrum- we don’t jet out to foreign parts and see, first-hand, how our work is having a positive impact on people’s lives. However, what we do get to do is visit the parish communities who so generously support us. For me, it’s definitely the highlight of our job and yesterday was no exception.

Holy Rood people

Pat, Fr. Damian and John at Holy Rood, Barnsley

I’d been invited by Fr. Damian Humphries to speak at Holy Rood in Barnsley about Harvest Fast Day. For years, the parish has been a great supporter so I wasn’t surprised when I was greeted with a “You’re very welcome, Mr. CAFOD!”, and they meant it. Everyone I spoke to was so friendly it left me feeling like this was my home parish. However, it was especially good to meet John, our parish contact, and Pat, a woman with so much enthusiasm that she should bottle and sell it! Together with John’s wife, Sue, who was sadly unwell yesterday, they make sure that CAFOD’s mission remains high on the parish’s list of priorities.

But it’s not, of course, the only priority and John spoke to me about how there’s an increasing demand on people’s generosity; he’s concerned that as people are being asked for more and more, their ability to give to CAFOD will decrease.  Nevertheless, he thinks he’s found an answer and one that chimes perfectly with CAFOD’s commitment to Laudato Si’: recycling!

Trash for cash

Trade in your trash for cash with CAFOD

Did you know, that you can trade in your trash for cash? With only a little bit of effort, the stuff you no longer want or need can be converted into much-needed funds for CAFOD’s work. And the best bit, of course, is that it doesn’t cost you a penny!

We’ll always need people to be as generous as they can for our Fast Days but if, like John, we get creative, then there’s lots of ways we can generate a little extra. Barnsley may not be glamorous (though, to be fair, I didn’t see all of it) but it’s still a great place to be.

Anyone for SPAM?

Jeremy Cain, Hallam Community Participation Coordinator, invites you to SPAM for Fast Day.

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Spam not SPAM

True or false? Spam is so popular in Hawaii that Burger King started to serve it just to compete with McDonald’s.

I am, of course, talking about the famous tinned meat, introduced to the world in 1937, just in time to become a staple of war time rationing. Surprisingly, it’s popularity has never declined, so much so that a survey in the 1990s supposedly revealed that three tins of the stuff are eaten every second. Not by me!

Monty Python spam

Inspiring the internet generation

In 1970 it spawned a famous Monty Python sketch- complete with singing Vikings- which, in turn, led to the use of the word for unsolicited email messages. So, in eighty years it has become a cultural icon; not bad for something with such questionable nutritional benefits.

Yet at CAFOD when we talk about SPAM, we mean something completely different (as John Cleese might say). We love our acronyms, and this one stands for Speaking at Mass, an essential means of communicating our work to our supporters. Us regional staff are always happy to receive invites to do this but, as we approach Harvest Fast Day on 6th October, we’d like everyone to get involved.

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CAFOD Harvest Fast Day

People in our parishes are always generous but, like everyone else, they want to know that their money is being well spent. Our 2-minute short talk aims to do just that by showcasing our work and explaining how people’s donations are crucial to lifting people out of poverty. We find our supporters really appreciate hearing the impact they can have and are often more generous because of it.

So, if you’re one of our Parish Contacts and have yet to do so, please ask your Parish Priest if you can read out the talk at the end of Mass. If this isn’t the sort of thing you’re good at, ask someone else (the people on the parish reading rota are often willing). But even if you’re not a parish contact, please let us know if you can help. Last year, a volunteer spoke in three different parishes and managed to increase our collection by 37%!

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Spam musubi, an Hawaiian delicacy

By the way, the answer is true. Apparently, Hawaii is the US state with the highest consumption of Spam per capita, a dubious accolade if ever I’ve heard one. Still, if you’re a spam lover, Google the islands’ famous spam musubi recipe and let us know what you think!