Save lives not money this Black Friday

Jeremy Cain, Community Participation Coordinator for Hallam diocese, dreams of a better Black Friday.Black Friday

It’s Black Friday this week, another American import that we might be better off without. Last year, in all the excitement, people in the UK spent £1.23bn online in just one day, an average of around £18 per person.

We all know the thrill of picking up a bargain. It’s partly the money we’ve saved but (at least for me) it’s also a sense that I’ve got one over on the retailers and even my fellow shoppers- “You didn’t pay that much, did you??” I try not to say to my friends.

The trouble is, it’s all a bit of a coFind the pean. Research by Which? magazine shows that Black Friday prices are very rarely the cheapest, and that you’re likely to find the item for less money in December. For example, an oven sold by Curry’s for £494.99 on Black Friday was £45 cheaper three weeks later. If you have a steady nerve, it definitely pays to wait!

Water for a family

Longora using the newly repaired  village water pump in Uganda

But with CAFOD you don’t need to worry. If you buy a World Gift from us, you can be sure that you’re getting it at our best ever price! Not only that but we absolutely guarantee that it will change someone’s life: buy “Water for a family” and you will be providing poor people with a supply of clean, safe water in their homes for drinking, cooking and washing, keeping everyone safe from infection. And you can do all this for only £33.

Teach someone to read

Thiago, age 9, learning to read in Brazil

So imagine, for a moment, that last year people had spent their cash with CAFOD, rather than Amazon, eBay and the like. That would have helped more than 37 million families stay free from disease, or taught over 120 million children to read, giving them a greater opportunity to work their way out of poverty; or it might have given more than 8 million refugee families protection from the winter cold. It’s only a dream but wouldn’t it be wonderful if it came true?

Winter Survival kit

Ahmad with his wife and grandchildren surviving winter in Lebanon

So, this Friday, we’d love you to shop with us. There’s no bargains to be had, just dreams to be realised. You won’t be saving money, you’ll be saving lives.

CAFOD World Gifts can solve your Christmas conundrum!

Jeremy Cain, Community Participation Coordinator for CAFOD in Hallam, wonders if he should be watching more TV.

MozSo which is your favourite Christmas ad so far? Even if, like me, you don’t watch a lot of telly, you’ll have found it hard to completely avoid all the excitement; this morning a national newspaper’s website is listing eleven so far with at least two more to come!

We know it’s all about retailers attempts to cash in on Christmas, something which many of us religious types are not entirely comfortable with. But it is, perhaps, hard to blame them when we’re all gearing up to spend hundreds, if not thousands of pounds to make this Christmas the best we’ve ever had.

Christmas mangerThere is, of course, another way: a Christmas focused on the coming of Christ and his kingdom of justice and peace. That’s not to say there’s no room for Paddington, Moz and the rest of them, just that they’re not quite as important as some people would like to make out.

The world is full of difficult questions when we look at our culture through the eyes of faith. Here’s one I wrestle with every year: how can I avoid the rampant commercialism whilst still making sure my kids have a wonderful time? In spite of my best efforts, as far as they’re concerned, Christmas means presents, so not buying any isn’t really an option. However, buying fewer and more thoughtful ones is.

Bolivian boyThat’s why I love CAFOD World Gifts. A goat, given on their behalf to someone in Africa, is not going to be their most popular present of the year but it will make them laugh and, hopefully, think for a moment about how lucky they are. It will also mean that a poor family will be provided with up to 12 pints of milk a week and free fertiliser to help them grow crops!

Solar LampGoats are definitely a family favourite (and it’s one of the most popular with CAFOD supporters too) but every year there are some new ones to choose from. This year is no different: how about a solar lamp to allow children to study at night? Or the gift of play to help children deal with gang violence? And perhaps most intriguingly, you can buy a child a birth certificate which will open a world of opportunity they may not otherwise have.

Each gift is full of Christmas sparkle, though we like to think it’s a sparkle of a deeper and more enduring kind that what others are offering. And whilst we don’t have a fancy TV advert, if you tell all your friends, we won’t need one!


Hallam Students Start Year of CAFOD Fundraising

Dozens of students from four schools in the diocese of Hallam have embarked on a year of volunteering to help both local and international communities. 


Students from four Hallam schools gathered together

Year 11 pupils from All Saints Catholic High School in Sheffield, St Mary’s Catholic High School in Chesterfield, The McAuley Catholic High School in Doncaster and Notre Dame High School in Sheffield gathered together to kick-start a year of fundraising with CAFOD.

The 37 students are now part of CAFOD’s Young Leaders programme and attended a session on October 11 at All Saints High School aimed at developing several leadership skills such as communication, organisation and problem solving.

The pupils also learned about key areas of CAFOD’s work, including its programmes with partners in developing countries and its efforts to fight poverty and injustice.

Rose Krzyz ran the meeting alongside Alex Krzyz and Mike Campbell.

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