Interested in making a difference to the World’s poorest communities? Join CAFOD as a parish volunteer and discover fantastic ways to make that difference. Two of our volunteers, Jill and John, share the opportunities they gained from volunteering at CAFOD. You too can sign up today and get active in your parish.
Jill and John’s journey to becoming a parish volunteers
There are many reasons why parishioners choose to volunteer for CAFOD, from wanting to take concrete action to making the most of their free time.
Jill Cass became a volunteer in her parish by accident four years ago, when she had to fill in for someone else. “I have been a CAFOD volunteers for four years. In the past we had relied on a speaker at mass for Family Fast Day but one day we could not get one so I thought I would do it and that’s how I became a volunteer,” she says.
Since then, Jill has enjoyed being an active member of her community and has helped with a range of activities, from coordinating CAFOD’s Family Fast Days to helping other volunteers speak at mass.
On the other hand, a long time supporter of CAFOD, John Vine decided to become an active parish volunteer after retiring.
“I have supported CAFOD financially for as long as I can remember but when I retired I felt I needed to do more to follow St James’s exhortation to do something and not just talk about it. So I decided to become our parish representative and set up a small parish group to help fundraise and support campaigns,” he says.
Becoming a parish volunteer: what exactly will I be doing?
As a volunteer in your church community, you will mobilise parishioners to take action for global justice. Every one is different and has something unique to contribute. Depending on how much time you are able to give and what sort of activities appeal to you, you can for instance build a CAFOD group, help out with CAFOD’s emergency appeals and Family Fast Days or share spirituality resources.
John went out of his way. Every year, he organises a well-attended summer garden party with his wife Freda at their house. This is an opportunity to meet with friends and family and support CAFOD’s work abroad. “We have done this for many years and our regular band of parishioners, friends and family look forward to relaxing in our garden with sandwiches, cakes and endless cups of tea or coffee,” he says.
“It is a joyous occasion made all the more worthwhile by the knowledge that our brothers and sisters around the world will reap some small benefit from our efforts. We finish the day exhausted but feeling uplifted. This feeling is something I would encourage everyone to seek, and volunteering for CAFOD is one of the best ways I can think of.”
Jill also appreciates the many activities she has taken part in since becoming a volunteer. Her message? There is always something you can do, regardless of your background. “With CAFOD I have taken part in walks, briefings and volunteers days. I have raised some money with Traidcraft [a fairtrade organisation]. I am hoping to organise a fundraising soup lunch next week after the Friday evening mass.”
What support will I get to become a parish volunteer
Putting yourself out there can be a scary prospect. That’s why CAFOD staff will support you in what is needed to carry out your volunteer role. CAFOD organises regular briefings both in London and outside, where you will find out everything you need to know about becoming a volunteer. You will also get a chance to talk to fellow volunteers who will be happy to share their experience with you.
When you become a volunteer, you are invited to join a CAFOD induction course which gives you all the basics to get started. To make sure you can stay on top on what is happening at CAFOD and in your dioecese, we send you some material to help you out on your journey as a volunteer, including monthly e-bulletins, materials to help with Fast Days and the CAFOD magazine “Side by Side” containing information about CAFOD’s overseas programmes and UK work .
Volunteers find this training helpful. “The support and training given both by the head office and the Southwark team helped me to do something I didn’t know I was capable of,” John says. Jill has found volunteer briefing days very helpful. Her advice to new volunteers? “Come to a briefing! It is inspiring and energising!”
Sign up today to become a parish volunteer
If you are interested in becoming a CAFOD volunteer, or want to find out more about volunteering opportunities, sign up today All you need to do is to tell us a little bit about what you would like to do and CAFOD’s team will get back to you quickly. We look forward to hearing from you!