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.

The Centenary of the Birth of Romero: continuing his legacy via volunteers

On Saturday 23 September, the Centenary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero was commemorated at Westminster Abbey in Evensong. Alongside CAFOD, the event was co-sponsored by Archbishop Romero Trust, Churches Together in England, and Christian Aid. Sidney Magdaong, a CAFOD intern, recaps the account of CAFOD volunteer Brendan Gately, who received a certificate during the event in honour of his volunteering.

As a representation of Blessed Oscar Romero’s work today, CAFOD volunteers strive towards the justice that Romero set forth for the community, particularly in El Salvador, which is the focus for this year’s Harvest Fast Day. During the Centenary of Oscar Romero’s birth on 23 September, Brendan Gately, a dedicated CAFOD volunteer, received a certificate for his volunteering and involvement over several years of campaigning and fundraising for CAFOD.


Brendan Gately receiving his volunteering certificate from Megan Knowles, a CAFOD trustee.

Brendan began volunteering for CAFOD in 1998 when he and his church helped organize their own Jubilee campaign, which raised £4,000 towards the campaign. Since then, he has become a strong supporter for CAFOD by voicing his support of Oscar Romero through fundraising and campaign work. “It’s wonderful to see CAFOD as support for Romero,” said Brendan. “[With] financing the radio station [in El Salvador], which was destroyed by the military, it was replaced using CAFOD funds.”

Brendan says that he has not had a specific role, but rather has been involved in widespread activities for CAFOD. “CAFOD is one element, but an important element. It is [also] important that we are getting  involved with the dialogue,” said Brendan. Like Romero, Brendan is another example of voicing his support against not one, but many injustices in the world, through which CAFOD is striving to appease.

Blessed Oscar Romero remains today a continuous inspiration and foundation for the ideals and goals of CAFOD. The Centenary of his birth acts as a reminder to all our volunteers and partners of the works of justice that Romero spent his life working towards, as well as the rewards that are reaped with a single voice; Brendan’s contribution to CAFOD is no exception. As Brendan concluded, “[CAFOD] is something I really enjoy. I feel like you get more out of it than what you put in.”


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.