On 17th October, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, CAFOD organised a Parliamentary lobby to speak up for the UK’s crucial role tackling poverty around the world. The event was focussed on constituencies where there are either new MPs, or MPs who especially need to hear their constituents’ support for UK government spending on aid. The Constituency of Bath (MP, Wera Hobhouse: Lib Dem) was one, and the constituency for Chippenham, (MP Michelle Donelan: Conservative) was another.
In the morning there were arranged activities and speakers, together with a wide range of constituents sharing their reasons why they care about development and support public spending on aid, all getting prepared to meet individual MP’s later in the afternoon. Help and support was provided for those who had not met their MP before.
Tony Threlfall with Michelle Donelan MP
“My MP for Chippenham, Michelle Donelan (Conservative), hadn’t replied to any of my phone calls and emails. However, there is a process called green carding where you report to the central lobby in the Houses of Parliament and request a meeting. She arrived within 10 minutes! She confirmed the government’s commitment to maintain the 0.7% of our GDP for the life of this Parliament. I invited her to meet the Syrian Refugees and their families at St. Patrick’s Church Hall where we teach them English, with the intention of giving her the opportunity to value the UK contribution and to appreciate and come to understand the experiences of the refugees. It was also a good opportunity to ensure she knows and supports the work of CAFOD. Our centre is only 50 yards from her constituency office. I have been asked to drop possible dates and times at her office which I did. I also spoke with Jeremy Corbyn at Portcullis House where other CAFOD and other aid agency volunteers were meeting their MPs. He was happy to support our efforts and be photographed with the volunteers.
Find out more here about how you can help CAFOD campaign on vital issues.
Tony Threlfall outside Parliament
Recently Corpus Christi parish in Weston-Super-Mare held their customary display of sumptuous produce on the altar for Harvest Fast Day.
This gave thanks and praise to God for His bounty. The produce was then auctioned for the CAFOD Harvest Fast Day Appeal so that those less fortunate might benefit. Parishioner Alan Malone did his usual brilliant job of auctioneer, parting people from their money and the auction raised £130 (more than last year’s record £120.) To date the donation total is £973.60 of which £192.99 is Gift Aided.
CAFOD money boxes were also utilised in fundraising by the parish for Harvest Fast Day – one contained nearly £60!
The very first Family Fast Day was held 57 years ago, on Friday 11 March 1960, when volunteer members of the National Board of Catholic Women raised funds for a Dominica mother and baby clinic.
selected seeds ready for planting
This year’s Harvest Fast Day is on Friday 6 October, and focuses on the work our partners are doing in El Salvador. Use our Fast Day resources to let everyone in your parish know it is Harvest Fast Day, and invite them to get involved through fundraising and praying.
Edelmira and Martir are farmers in El Salvador. As they live on and depend on their land, the harvest they reap is vital if they are to have food to put on the table, and have enough left over to sell. The money they earn from this harvest is then used to buy clothes, medicine and other essential items.
CAFOD, working in partnership with Solidaridad CVX, work with farmers like Edelmira and Martir to provide training and reintroduce native seeds used generations ago. These indigenous seeds are strong and fertile having evolved in this region over millennia to be able to grow well in the warm, rainy climate, This ensures that the farmers will be able to harvest crops, and become confident that they will provide their families both with food and a modest income.
To enable our partners to work with more farmers like Edelmira and Martir, across the world, please do use the CAFOD resources and invite your parish to get involved this Harvest Fast Day.