It all started with, “Why not?”

Meg, a CAFOD Media Volunteer, shares the story of the newest CAFOD coordinator, Andy Wansbury. Here she tells us how Andy began his journey as a volunteer.

“I used to be a forensic photographer,” Andy recalls. He had been in the Forensic

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A group photo from Lent Fast Day 2016–when it all started for Andy

Science Service for 12 years until 2011. Since then he had been at home, caring for his daughter. And then CAFOD reached out to him. “Eileen Hayes from CAFOD came to speak at the Lent Fast Day 2016 in my parish and asked for volunteers. I thought it was a call for me as I had always been interested in CAFOD work,” he says. He had always wanted to be a parish speaker, so when they finally asked him to be a part of the family, he just thought, “Why not?”


Why volunteer?

Andy began his CAFOD journey by giving talks in school. “Last September, there was a private school in Lewisham who needed a volunteer. I underwent training in the summer,” Andy explains. The training would occur twice a year, for a full day. “And soon I was giving talks for about 20 minutes in schools and parishes, about what CAFOD does and what we are all about.” There are also various volunteering opportunities for other aspiring volunteers who would like to do something else.

Andy had recently become the new volunteer campaign Co-ordinator for the deaneries of Bexley, Greenwich, Gravesend, Bromley and Lewisham. I thought, “My, what huge responsibility this is!” it all seemed so overwhelming. But he patiently explained that his role is mostly to act as a support person. Whenever there is a campaign, he is there to extend a hand if needed, but not necessarily having to be directly involved. “I am still getting the grips of it, ” he admits.  His latest assignment is trying to help with the committee appeal for East Africa. He is also hoping to recruit motivated volunteers to promote CAFOD campaigns in parishes.

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Andy sporting his signature look

Because of his new role, Andy is every where CAFOD takes him. He would show up in his Harley-Davidson, wearing black leather boots, navy trousers, and of course, a CAFOD shirt. He believes in making a first impression, and quite an impression at that. “It makes people remember you. And when they remember you they remember what you say, and the message you’d like to imprint on them.”

 

Discover the latest campaigns here

Many thanks, Andy, for all your fantastic work so far!

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Why East Africa needs you : a lunch-talk with Dc Tesfa Mahari.

Thank you to Streatham and Clapham United Nations Association who organised a simple lunch on Saturday, 29th April 1.00pm to find out why East Africa needs your help.

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A woman from South Sudan collecting wild leaves to eat. Photo by David Mutua

The event was held at the English Martyrs Church lower hall (2 Mitcham Lane, Streatham, SW16 6NN) to understand why East Africa needs us . Guests were invited to share a simple bread and cheese lunch, with a lecture that talks about the East African Famine.

The talk’s principal lecturer was Dr. Tesfa Mehari, from the International Business and Economics Department of the University of Greenwich. She discussed the causes, immediate needs and longer term solutions for the East African crisis.

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Food distributions in South Sudan; Photos taken by David Mutua

This event aimed to raise funds and awareness for these communities suffering severely of hunger caused by long periods of drought. The proceeds from this event will be split between UNICEF and CAFOD. More information available here.

Our thanks goes out to Sarah and her United Nations Association group who organised this.

A huge story about a tiny fish in Tooting

Jed Murphy, a CAFOD volunteer in the Southwark Diocese spent this weekend at Our Lady of the Assumption in Tooting, South London as part of the Lent Fast Day appeal.

I have lived in this part of South London for most of my life – but had never known that this lovely, vibrant and very welcoming Parish existed on the borders of Tooting, Streatham & Mitcham.

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The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Tooting (Phot0: CAFOD Southwark)

This year’s Lent Fast Day talk focussed on an amazing CAFOD project that provides families in the poorest parts of Zambia with tiny  tilapia fish together with the tools & training to build ponds in order to farm them.

Through this initiative, families are able to stand on their own two feet, selling their fish at the market and sharing what they have with the most vulnerable in their community.

It is a truly inspiring story.

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A CAFOD Lent Fast Day poster, showing the incredible story of Florence & the talapia fish

As approach Fast Day this Friday (10th March), we are encouraged to eat a simple lunch or supper and give the money we save to support other families.  In doing so we demonstrate our faith and tangibly help change the lives of others.

A donation of just £4 will buy 100 of those tiny talapia fish.  £20 will provide the materials to build a pond.  Please give what you can today.

The appeal went down very well in the Parish, and we also had requests from two parishioners who wanted to get involved as CAFOD Volunteers.  It’s a really great way for us to put our faith into action.  If you’d like to help & support CAFOD’s work in the community more information can be found here.

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The sanctuary at Our Lady of the Assumption (Photo: CAFOD Southwark)

A huge thank you to Fr Patrick and  all the parishioners who made so welcome.