CAFOD depends on a network of volunteers in parishes and schools who pray, act and give, enabling us to reach out to people living in poverty with practical help.
For 25 years, the CAFOD Team at St George’s Parish in Norwich has organised fundraising lunches to support CAFOD. Twice a year, Colin Irons, a professional chef, has created delicious meals using vegetables, fruit, and eggs from his allotment, while the parish Explorer Scouts help set out tables, serve food and wash up. During the COVID lockdown, the event still went ahead as the team organised a ‘click and collect’ takeaway lunch. After a quarter of a century, Colin has decided that it’s time to hang up his pinny after a final lunch on June 18. He was presented with gifts of wine and chocolate and Christine Allen, CAFOD’s Director, sent this special message of thanks:
“I want to add my own thanks for this remarkable achievement. Thank you for your commitment and dedication to raising awareness of CAFOD through your lunches. CAFOD has achieved much in 25 years, and it is thanks to volunteers like you that have enabled us, alongside our partners, to continue to reach the most vulnerable. With thanks and best wishes from Christine and all at CAFOD.”
Part of CAFOD’s mission is to challenge the structures that cause poverty and injustice in the first place. After lunch, I shared information on CAFOD’s current campaign, which is focused on Seed Sovereignty. For generations, small-scale farmers have freely shared a wide variety of seeds which produce the food that feeds a significant proportion of the world’s population. As a result of laws which limit what they can do with their own seed varieties, small-scale farmers are facing increasing pressure to buy seeds from the limited selection produced by big corporations. This is not good for people or the planet.
This summer, CAFOD is inviting parishes across the country to stand in solidarity with small-scale farmers to ensure that they have free access to their own varieties of seeds.
Salina, a seed saver from Bangladesh, has written a letter to the World Bank – an institution with a lot of influence in food policies – calling for the protection of the rights of small-scale farmers like herself to use their own varieties of seeds.
“…The companies do not give good seeds. They put descriptions on their seed packets that are not true. It is very impractical information. And the main thing is, the seeds sold by the companies do not belong to the farmers. Farmers can grow the crops, but they cannot keep the seeds in their own hands. This is a very bad thing…”
See the CAFOD website if you’d like to find out more about how your parish can support Salina and other small-scale farmers.