Inspired by the sales of homemade marmalade by the St George’s Norwich CAFOD group, Mary Kirk from St Thomas More Church Harleston (part of the Bungay parish) set up a parish produce stall in 2014. It ran once a month after Sunday Mass with parishioners bringing and buying garden produce to raise money for CAFOD.
In 2016 Mary walked to Rome in aid of Refugee Action and Shelter, and in her absence Shirley Kalinauckas, helped by her husband Mark, agreed to run the stall. At the same time, it moved to the Fressingfield Produce Market, giving the team an opportunity to spread awareness of poverty and justice outside the parish community and to sell produce to the wider community.
Mary said,: “Over time parishioners in other parts of the parish got involved, and just before the pandemic we were getting really good support, raising around £1,000 a year. A lady in Bungay made cot quilts, and a couple in an outlying village brought cakes, produce, and soup in autumn and winter. Pre-Covid our stall was getting a great reputation, especially for the quality and quantity of our cakes.”
Sadly, the Fressingfield produce market was closed in 2020 due to the pandemic but reopened on Saturday 17 July 2021, the parish community worked hard to stock it with quality goods.
Mary explained, ‘Thanks to good publicity the footfall was considerable. We sold cakes, buns, sausage rolls, cheese scones, chutneys, jellies, plants, sweet peas, quilts – and a beautiful handmade cardigan. The food items sold out rapidly as our former customers came flocking in. Saturday’s stall raised £200 for CAFOD.”
Shirley Kalinauckas, who is also chair of the Parish Pastoral Council (Bungay with Harleston), said: “It’s been frustrating to have such limited opportunities for fundraising during the pandemic so we were really pleased the Produce Market has started up again. We had a great response from parishioners on Saturday but we’re keen to get even more involved so that it’s a truly parish-wide effort in support of CAFOD.”
CAFOD was started by a group of extraordinary Catholic women who helped organise the first Fast Day in 1960, raising over £6,000 for a mother and baby clinic in Dominica. In the words of one of them, Elsbeth Orchard: “We were just doing what we ought to do, remembering that we are all God’s children.” Thanks to the hard work of volunteers like Mary and Shirley, their task of prayer, grassroots community action and fundraising continues to this day. To find out more about the story of CAFOD take a look at CAFOD’s website.
Pictured above is the CAFOD stall in Fressingfield