Corpus Christi Weston-Super-mare: the story of our CAFOD stall

It is all due to a guy called Paul Chislett several years ago.  At the time he was married to Linda but Linda sadly died.  He and Linda were both disabled, and used to go about in two electric wheel chairs with Linda in front as she could see where she was going!

Paul used to make rosaries, which was in itself a labour of love because he had very poor eyesight. Before his health deteriorated he had been mayor of a village near Bedford.  Together with his experience of fund raising he turned his experience to good effect in running some race nights, managing to get several local businesses to sponsor races and parishioners to pay to own horses or be jockeys.  Everyone had a lot of fun and CAFOD benefitted from the proceeds.

One of his suppliers closed down and offered Paul a job lot for £30!  Unable to refuse a bargain, two huge cardboard boxes soon arrived full of religious bits and pieces together with 200 pastel coloured stuffed gorillas.   Paul would not accept any payment and the CAFOD Stall was born.  Soon, we had sold £300 worth of stock and still have some for sale now!  We even passed 20 pink stuffed gorillas onto a neighbouring parish. Liz with her husband John run the stall on Saturday evenings.

Liz Rogers with the only pink stuffed gorilla in captivity

Since then, two of our parishioners had a large number of canvas bags printed with a logo appropriate to Corpus Christi and CAFOD (a loaf and a fish with the logo “Simply Share”). These sold well and are now being given away free with any purchase over £5.  Other parishioners made stands to display these bags and also to display donated home-made jams and preserves.  We also produced and sell a book of delicious recipes for using left overs collected from parishioners and called “Live Simply”.

Sadly our Traidcraft stall closed down last year as those running it were finding that local supermarkets were stocking Fairtrade products at lower prices.  As a result we now sell REAL Easter eggs, selling these at cost, believing that our role is to spread the message not just raise funds.  We sell these alongside the remainder of Paul’s items as well as other donations.  We are now considering the selling of plants later this year and are liaising with the school about the development of a garden.  We hope this will encourage children to learn about horticulture and the protection of the environment (in accordance with Laudato Si), with the added advantage of generating more produce for our CAFOD stall.

The stall benefits from the support of our Parish Priest who encourages others to part with their money and sets a good example in consuming the Fair Trade chocolate.

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