Gratitude to and from Our CAFOD Volunteers

Several CAFOD volunteers have received awards honouring multiple years of dedicated service to CAFOD. Sidney Magdaong, a CAFOD intern, highlights some of the volunteers who have received these prestigious certificates.

A big thank you goes out to all of our CAFOD volunteers who have dedicated their time to serving CAFOD. As a sign of our appreciation for them, CAFOD has recently granted some milestone certificates honouring their dedicated volunteering efforts for multiple years of service.

Learn more about what it means to be a CAFOD volunteer


Eileen with volunteers Roger Wright, Anne Unseld and Fred Mendonca

We as CAFOD are grateful for the post-awarding messages our volunteers have been sending us, and we would like to acknowledge some of them here. Grania Frazer, who has served CAFOD for 10 years, says “May I thank [CAFOD] for their THANK YOU for 10 years of volunteering. I had not realised that it was so long.” Another volunteer, John Foley, modestly, and yet powerfully states that “…the reward is just in helping CAFOD.”

Anne Towner 10 yr certificate

Anne Towner, a 10-year CAFOD volunteer

Some of our volunteers even have decades of volunteer experience under their belt. Long time volunteer Josephine Sands tells us “Thank you for my certificate received yesterday. It’s nice to have it… I started volunteering for CAFOD around 1995 when the office was in Dartford!”

Sign up here to get started as a volunteer

Eileen Hayes, a CAFOD administrator, says to one of our volunteers, “Whenever we meet or chat with volunteers, we are so inspired by the acts of kindness that you do. You give us a great hope that a fairer world is possible.” And a fairer world doesn’t just happen; it requires time, and it amazes us at how CAFOD volunteers are willing use their free time to build a better future. In fact, the summed total of all the years our volunteers have served is about 640 years! Clearly, a large part of CAFOD’s foundation hinges on the drive of our volunteers. We’ll have to make sure to celebrate once we hit 1000 years!

Even while receiving the certificates, many of our volunteers were still hard at work


Eileen presenting a thank you cake to our office volunteers Gaynor and Liz

preparing and speaking at Mass for this past Fast Day–a sign of their continuous support. Though we have received several “Thank You” messages after delivering our certificates to them, the biggest gratitude goes to our volunteers. Thank you for your service and we hope for your continuing support and zeal for creating positive change in the world.


Organising Your Own Soup Lunch for Harvest Fast Day

6 October 2017 marks this year’s Harvest Fast Day, which serves to generate funds to support our partners in El Salvador to fight injustices there. Sidney Magdaong, a CAFOD intern, describes how you can get involved by making your own soup lunch.

With Harvest Day approach quickly, many of our volunteers are hard at work as ever to make this Fast Day a successful one. A successful Fast Day derives from successful fundraising, and CAFOD provides several fundraising resources to kick-start the process. One of the best ways you can get involved in the effort is by organising your own soup lunch.

Discover more ways you can volunteer for this year’s Fast Day

soup lunch blog

CAFOD staff and volunteers enjoying their own soup lunch

How do I get started? Organising a soup lunch always starts with a plan: first, you will need a team who can help. you can ask your friends and family to help buy ingredients and cook a variety of soups (make sure that the cooks abide by food safety guidelines, and ensure that all soups are labelled clearly for those with allergies!). To save on costs, ask your local supermarket or bakery if they would be willing to donate any supplies that can help out. Working alongside your community goes a long way, and it brings people together in the process.

Check out our how-to guide, which summarizes how you can get started

Second, the venue must be decided.  Soup lunches can be done at your own home, as long as there is enough room for everyone to fit! If you decide to host the soup lunch at your school or your parish, make sure you ask for permission beforehand, and if they can provide you with the necessary catering services.

After that, you’re almost set! The only thing left to do is to spread the word about your event. CAFOD has advertising resources that can help make your soup lunch a successful one. Put up posters around your community, invite your friends and family, etc.; anything it takes to get people involved. Donations from your soup lunch can then be sent to CAFOD, which will tremendously fuel our efforts to support our partners in El Salvador.

Learn more about the message that CAFOD is sending to farmers in El Salvador

Thus, the most important thing to keep in mind is the mission that you are serving.

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Martir, an El Salvadorian farmer and partner to CAFOD, holding his crop

Sharing a soup lunch with your community resembles the community that CAFOD is striving to provide for the many El Salvadorian farmers who are struggling to yield fruitful harvests. Through the giving of yourself and of your community, you are planting new, fresh seeds for farmers in El Salvador, thus reaping crops that will provide a better life and stronger hope for them.

Preparing for Fast Day: Fundraising in Your Parish

Harvest Fast Day is a day dedicated to raising funds to serve our brothers and sisters worldwide through CAFOD service projects. Fast Day currently focuses on our partners in El Salvador; this year’s Harvest Fast Day falls on Friday, 6 October 2017. Sidney Magdaong, a US intern for CAFOD, describes how you can get involved:

As Fast Day quickly approaches, the call to get involved grows ever so loudly. One of the ways I’ve been preparing is by spending the past few weeks contacting parish priests asking for their support in spreading the message of Fast Day and engaging in a Fast Day collection. To ensure that there is as much participation as possible for this year’s Fast Day, it is important that we get involved with our parishes by actively seeking ways to fundraise in support towards CAFOD’s mission.

Take a look at our resources for fundraising in your parish

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Edelmira, Martir, and their family in El Salvador

In case you’re wondering, what is CAFOD’s mission for Fast Day again? It starts with two farmers, Edelmira and Martir, who are trying to reintroduce seeds that are more suited to the tropical climates in El Salvador. The reason these seeds must be reintroduced is because some of the newly planted seeds purchased by other farmers have not been able to adapt well to the warm, rainy climate, resulting in poorer crop yields. CAFOD’s goal is to work with our partners Edelmira and Martir to help train and enable other farmers to utilize these advantageous seeds in order to harvest better, stronger crops to support their families. CAFOD is hosting various online webinars and briefings that fully narrate Edelmira’s story. The next online webinar will be Wednesday, 20 September from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

Learn how you can share Edelmira’s story in your parish


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Edelmira and Martir in the crop fields

One of the biggest roles you can take to get involved with our mission is to be heard within your parish. Hanging up posters, speaking to your parish priest about a Fast Day collection, or inviting someone to read out the short story of Edelmira at Mass are huge contributions towards raising funds.

One important thing to remember: fundraising isn’t something that you do alone. Rather, it involves getting members of your parish involved with spirit and enthusiasm so as to work towards this goal in communion with one another. I’ve had the incredible experience of working alongside CAFOD staff and volunteers to promote Harvest Fast Day throughout the community, and the message has been ever-growing. And it’s not simply going around asking for money; it all starts with a voice that captures the essence of CAFOD’s mission for Fast Day, a voice that calls for standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters worldwide.