Last week, over 100 Purley parishioners gathered for a Harvest celebration which hoped to raise awareness food waste and environmental issues.
On Sunday 9 October, parishioners from St John the Baptist, Purley, gathered for a Harvest Festival where they made rosaries out of conkers, held quizzes, and played board games, which was accompanied by homemade soup, cakes and bakes.
This event was organised by CAFOD volunteers and the Justice and Peace group who wanted to raise awareness of how climate change could change the local environment and how small changes could make a big difference.
CAFOD parish volunteer, Louise Cook, said:
“The inspiration for this event came from the Laudato Si’ (an environmental letter written by Pope Francis) study group. We decided to hold an event where we invited people to bring leftover food to make a meal out of, or to get hold of “ugly” fruit and vegetables to make fruit salad and soup.
“During the day, families collected conkers to make into their own rosaries and we made one large rosary to give to our new Parish Priest. I also prepared a tree quiz to get people working out what species of trees we have in the church grounds.
“Each table had a quote from Laudato Si’ or a message about food waste. The aim of the event was not a fundraiser, but we still raised about £120 for CAFOD.”
The group encouraged fellow parishioners to express their environmental views and write postcards to their local MP, Chris Philip, to urge him to tackle climate change and invest in renewable energy.
“Lots of people came after both Masses to help make soup and lots more came to enjoy each other’s company and appreciate the food. People helped out who had never done anything for a Justice and Peace or CAFOD event before.
“It was the first time we have done anything like this in the parish, and we were amazed by the success. Free soup is definitely a good way to get people taking part in something and I expect we will do something similar in the future – building community and raising awareness little by little.”
CAFOD is part of the Climate Coalition, a group that represents over 11 million people and campaigns for action on climate change and limiting its impact on the world’s poorest communities. This event was part of the Climate Coalition’s Speak Up week of action, which saw thousands of local people meeting their MPs across the country in the week of 8-16 October.