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!


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!


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!


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

Anyone for SPAM?

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


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.

HFD17 poster

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%!

spam musubi

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!

Are you ready for Harvest?

Jeremy Cain, Community Participation Coordinator for Hallam, explains how everyone can have a happy Harvest.

Emma and cake

Emma and her cake!

This year the 6th October is a big day for me in more ways than one. Firstly, it’s my wife’s birthday. I’ll need to make my only cake of the year (it’s the thought that counts, or at least that’s what she tells me), marshal the kids to make cards for her and see if I can improve on last year’s present (but we really did need a new set of pans…).


Secondly, however, it’s Harvest Fast Day and so it’s also a really important time for CAFOD as we ask again for the Catholic community of England and Wales to show their generosity towards their sisters and brothers overseas. Fast Days provide us with a vital part of our income (£2.6 million last Lent) and it would be very much harder for us to operate successfully without the support we receive from them.

HFD17 poster

Harvest Fast Day poster

Crucial to this process are the people who volunteer for us in parishes, putting posters up and bulletin notices in, as well as arranging with the parish priest to speak about our work. The almost legendary “short talk” is an essential tool for getting the Fast Day message across. We know that parishioners appreciate hearing about our work and that it inspires them, really bringing Fast Day and our work to life.


This year we are focusing on Edelmira and her family, El Salvadorean farmers who, with your help, have been able to improve their agricultural practices and consequently grow more food for themselves. It’s an inspiring story in the midst of a country still being torn apart by violence.


Edelmira and son

Edelmira and her son

The short talk is one of many resources we provide to make the whole thing as easy as possible. In addition, we have a “how to” guide, poster, prayer card and a sample envelope, all designed, in response to the feedback we have received over the years, to deliver maximum effect from minimum effort.


So please get involved. Here are some of the ways you can help:

  • If you’re not sure if your parish has a CAFOD volunteer, please get in touch with us at the Volunteer Centre and we can let you know. If your parish doesn’t, and you’d like to help us in our mission, we would love you to get involved. You can contact us on hallam@cafod.org.uk or 0114 268 7817 and we’ll send you all the resources you need in the next post.
  • If you’re parish does have a volunteer, please offer to lend them a hand!
  • If you are a parish volunteer (thank you!) and have yet to do so, now is the time to include a note in your bulletin and put up the poster. Please also have a word with your parish priest and ask him if you, or someone else, can do the short talk.
  • Share our special Children’s Liturgy plan with your catechist team.
  • The weekend before Fast Day (30th September and 1st October), please hand out the envelopes and the prayer cards to people as they leave church.

This year, we’re also asking people to organise soup lunches in their parishes as a way of bringing people together for a very good cause. It’s also a great way to give people an opportunity to help.

Thank you, in advance, for all you do to help us, both for Fast Day and throughout the rest of the year. We really appreciate your generosity and promise to make good use of it in helping some of the poorest people in the world. Have a happy Harvest!