Get inspired by St Mary’s World Gifts celebration.

Unsure what to get someone this holiday season? Consider putting a smile on everyone’s face by purchasing a world gift. See how St. Mary’s organised a bake sale to purchase a community water supply World Gift. By advertising CAFOD‘s World Gifts, we can change the lives of those in need.

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St. Mary’s coffee team enjoying Irish Coffees at their wonderous bake sale!

This past weekend, St. Mary’s in Clapham hosted a bake sale for World Gifts! All the proceeds are going towards a fund for a water supply for an entire community! This is a great way to get the whole parish involved and raise money for World Gifts. St. Mary’s sold cakes, brownies and all kinds of desserts that were enjoyed by all. They also had a coffee team on duty who were mixing delicious coffee to enjoy with their desserts. This is an amazing way to bring people together for the holidays and positively change communities.

A community water supply will cost £750, and will supply a constant source of clean water for many people. One example of this World Gift in action was in Uganda when CAFOD was able to fix a waterhole, provide the training and the necessary tools to Cecilia’s community with the proceeds from CAFOD’s community water gift. Cecilia says, “Now we have enough water for food, to clean ourselves and our clothes, and for our animals to drink.” World Gifts such as these will have a lasting impact and can change the lives of many.

Congratulations to St. Mary’s in Clapham, they raised over £600 at their bake sale! This is fantastic!

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What are World Gifts?

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Ethical last minute Christmas gift

CAFOD World-Gifts Christmas Card - Ethical last minute Christmas Gift

CAFOD World-Gifts Christmas Card – Ethical last Minute Christmas Gift

If you are looking for a last minute Christmas gift, don’t look further CAFOD has a solution for you: look at our world gift offer. Ethical and alternative gifts that transforms lives.

It is estimated that £2.6 billion is spent each year on unwanted Christmas presents – books that have never leave the bookshelf, toys that never leave their plastic boxes, vouchers that are never spent.  For the last 12 years CAFOD has been providing Christmas shoppers with an alternative, with gifts which are more in line with a desire to care for creation and stand in solidarity with the poor.

World Gifts are ethical presents with a conscience.  From Emergency water, to a Vegetable garden, to a Solar lamp, there’s a huge diversity in the gifts on offer.  From £4,00 to £4,000 your choice is wide. What is guaranteed is that each present will help transform the lives of poor communities and families in developing countries.  This year two new gifts have been launched; Help a refugee child, which will give much-needed emotional and educational support to children who have fled war, and a Birth certificate, which enables families to acquire this much needed document.

Rohingya mother and baby - Buy them a gift for Christmas

Rohingya mother and baby – Buy them a gift for Christmas

Once you’ve chosen your gift, the lucky recipient will receive a card – via email or the post – which explains the gift that has been bought in their name.  With World Gifts the present drawer won’t get any bigger and there’s no need for awkward regifting.  Instead, someone in the developing world will receive the opportunity to live a happier and healthier life.

As well as gifts for friends and family, World Gifts also make a great focal point for parishes and schools wanting to fundraise.  Margaret Roper school in Purley fundraises for World Gifts by holding a talent show, ‘Ropers Got Talent’, for students from Year 3-6.  From magicians to gymnasts to stand-up comedians, there is a huge variety of acts, all of whom are judged by a panel committee.  The money raised from the show is combined with that raised for CAFOD from other fundraising activities across the year and used to buy World Gifts.  Excitingly for the children, they are able to build up a ‘virtual village’ with all the gifts they have bought, from vegetable gardens to goats.

“We use the money raised for CAFOD to buy World Gifts as it makes it far more meaningful for the children,” said Headteacher Dermot Mooney.  “They can see that their funds are sending a child to school or helping a family to have clean water and it’s very tangible.  They like the idea of helping someone going to school because they’re aware that they’re very privileged.”

World gift display at St John Vianney in Bexley Heath

World gift display at St John Vianney in Bexley Heath

Lyn Goddard, from St. John Vianney in Bexleyheath, has also encouraged her parish to buy World Gifts.  Last year she set up a World Gifts display in the parish, wrote something for the newsletter and made sure there were catalogues for parishioners to take home.

Of World Gifts, Lyn said:

“We’ve all got so much of everything and World Gifts is a way of bringing CAFOD back into the parish after Harvest.  The gifts are a way of still showing someone you’re thinking of them at Christmas – because that’s all presents are really – but it’s much better than buying someone another pair of socks to go with the pair you got them last year.

“Last Christmas I sent loads of my friends the bee gift, which is only £4, and I sent my mother in law the gardening gift, as my father in law was a huge gardener.”

This Christmas, if you want to fill stockings with meaning and presents with heart, then get a CAFOD World Gift.  Gifts start from £4 but you must order by tomorrow Friday 15 December to get your present in time for Christmas!

Children’s chores making a difference to CAFOD’s partners

St John Vianney in Bexleyheath is in full swing as they prepare for CAFOD Lent Fast Day. Lyn Goddard, Bexley deanery area-coordinator volunteer, shares their journey with us.

Says Lyn: Lent Fast Day is fast approaching and preparations in our parish are now in full swing.

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St John Vianney, Bexleyheath

As usual, we’ll be putting up a display on the porch noticeboard and this time the theme will be fish…….and lots of eye-catching brightly-decorated fish spring to mind.

Our display, which will remain in place until the following Sunday, will coincide for Serge, our parish rep, to give his talk on Sunday 5th March.

We staple the CAFOD envelopes to the weekly newsletter which is handed out by our welcomers, together with the parish mass book. We find this solves the problem of folk forgetting to take an envelope when they leave after Mass. It also means everyone has the envelope in front of them when Serge is delivering his talk.

We make a point of using the CAFOD prayers of intercession throughout Lent as this helps to keep us focused on the needs of our brothers and sisters around the world. The newsletter includes a brief announcement reminding everyone that Fast Day is coming and it urges them to use Gift Aid if possible thereby increasing their gift.

After the 10.30.am Mass, which is our main Sunday service, we usually have refreshments in the hall. This gives parishioners a chance to chat and catch up on all the news.

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Lyn Goddard, left, with fellow Parish Volunteers at a Lent Fast Day briefing

On 5th March we’ll be having the usual refreshments as well as showing the video of Nkandu Chikonde which is available on the CAFOD website .

The youngsters haven’t been forgotten either.

We’re challenging them to become involved in the Fast Day efforts. Each child has been given a CAFOD money box and we’re asking them to do chores at home to earn money to put in the box.

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CAFOD money box

Obviously we want them to raise whatever money they can and we believe it will be good for them to feel they’re contributing. By doing chores they can see that the money they raise is a direct result of their own efforts.

As we feel our efforts shouldn’t just be restricted to a collection on Fast Day, we’re also planning a Lenten fund-raising frugal lunch. The occasion will also raise awareness of the challenges many people face in trying to find enough food to feed their families.

Finally, we hope to have a Day of Prayer for CAFOD which will include Stations of the Cross.

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Further details about this will be announced shortly.