CAFOD Office Volunteers are preparing for Harvest Family Fast Day on October 5th

October 5th is right around the corner, which means Harvest Family Fast Day will be here soon! CAFOD’S volunteers in the Southwark Volunteer Centre have been working hard with Parish Volunteers and Parishes these past couple of weeks to prepare. American Student and Office Volunteer, Natalie, has joined CAFOD’s volunteer team in August and describes what she has been up to.


Office Volunteer, Natalie, on the phone with Parish volunteers

On my very first day at CAFOD (and only my 5th day in London), I was introduced to CAFOD’s Harvest Family Fast Day mission! Day two, I was already calling volunteers asking of their plans for Fast Day in their parishes.  I began to learn about the huge impact our Parish volunteers and supporters, with the help of CAFOD, can have on changing the lives of everyone around the world.

At the last Family Fast Day, during lent, we raised together £4.3 million!

Learn more about CAFOD’s mission
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How water pollution affects communities in Uganda and what you can do about it.

On Saturday 8th of September, we held a briefing for all CAFOD parish volunteers regarding our upcoming Harvest Family Fast Day. Mark Chamberlain was in attendance as our guest speaker for this occasion, sharing his knowledge about the water pollution crisis in Uganda. Ian Heams, from Mary Immaculate and St. Gregory Parish in High Barnet, writes about his experience at this event.

Longora collects water in her village, Moroto, Uganda.

Longora collects water in her village, Moroto, Uganda.

“In a detailed and passionate address to CAFOD supporters, Mark Chamberlain outlined the essential nature of water. He described the vital choices that have to be made in the absence of this common liquid that we so often take for granted here in the UK.”

The issue with water pollution in Uganda

“Focusing on the plight of people in the remote northern village of Moroto Uganda, Mark demonstrated the reasons why this issue has become the subject of this year’s Harvest appeal.

Find out how you can contribute to this year’s Harvest Family Fast Day

Mark recounted how the village population had been reduced to drinking the meagre supply of heavily polluted water from a nearby stream. He told the story of how this situation affected Longora, a pregnant woman expecting her child’s imminent birth during a four-year long drought.”

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Eat some soup and transform lives!

Tomorrow is CAFOD Lent Fast Day. Join with fellow Catholics across Southwark and eat some soup to transform lives tomorrow or on any other day.

Lent is about transforming our own lives and other people’s lives around us, it is about getting back to God and make a change, a transformation. Today we would like to let you know how eating soup could transform the lives of so many girls in some of the world’s poorest country.

How does it work? Invite your friends, family or fellow parishioners for a “Simple Lunch”. It’s a lunch where you and other people get together for a simple lunch of soup and bread, and donate to CAFOD the money you would have used for eating out. This money goes towards our Lent Campaign.

What should you know about “Simple Lunch”? It originates from the three pillars of lent, which are praying, fasting and almsgiving. When you get together, you can pray collectively, fast collectively; through the simple meal you have. Then finally give together, as you donate the money you would have used to eat out. This is an opportunity to put your faith into action and change your life and the lives of those around you. Fancy getting involved?

What is CAFOD’s Lent appeal this year? It focuses on bringing clean water to communities and households. Many countries around the world do not have direct access to clean water and therefore young girls have to travel long distances to fetch water, where usually the water is contaminated with diseases. Uganda is an example of this, almost one in four people in Uganda do not have access to safe water. For 14-year-old Proscovia, this meant that she had to collect water for her family, missing hours of school. She almost had to give up her education entirely. This is a prime example of the devastating effects that having no access to clean water can lead too. Proscovia is denied of two fundamental human rights, which is the right to access clean water and the right to an education. Through your involvement in the “Simple Lunch” experience you will be able to transform the lives of people like Proscovia, where the money that you donate can help provide clean, safe water to people living in poverty. This water means so much: enough to drink; freedom from disease, sanitation and dignity; time saved. For Proscovia, water meant an education, and a chance to follow her dreams. The dream of becoming an engineer and because of your donations, she can now fulfil this dream. Look at how much your involvement changes lives, you have the power to make a change and transform the lives of girls just like Proscovia. For more information please watch Proscovia’s video.

Here at our Southwark volunteer centre, many of our volunteers have been participating in the simple lunch, by having tomato soup and bread for lunch. Also, we know that some of our parishes within Southwark are organising the simple lunch during this lent period, lots of people are involved, so why don’t you? Find your local parish in Southwark, call a friend or do it at home with your family! To make life a bit easier for you when participating in the “Simple Lunch”” here is a recipe for a delicious tomato soup!

Tomato Soup
2 Cans of 800g peeled tomatoes
3 Carrots
2 leeks
1 Onion
1 branch of celery
2 litres of water
Seasoning e/g 4 vegetable stock cubes or basil, salt

Leave to cook for 45 minutes and blend everything together.

Have this soup with fresh bread and enjoy your simple lunch! Take time to pray dwelling in God’s presence.

Finally , as much as your CAFOD donations would help provide access to clean water , it will also allow for the people to experience Gods power and able to experience God in a way in which they have not before. John 4:14 says but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” As well as providing them with physical water, we are providing them with a spiritual water that allows for them to always have direct access to it and it will never run out! You will be able to do this, all you need to do is get involved and take part in the simple lunch. You can transform a life.

Thank you for Feyi Odesola for her contribution in writing this blog.