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Stowmarket parish lunch with a difference

The CAFOD Plus group in Stowmarket parish organised a soup lunch with a difference last week – it was held online via Zoom, writes Jane Crone from CAFOD in East Anglia who joined them.


Coronavirus meant that this year’s event could not take place face to face. Undeterred the Live Simply parish decided to have a Zoom soup lunch during Laudato Si’ week with the aim of raising funds for the recently launched CAFOD Coronavirus Appeal.

One Saturday May 23 parishioners were invited to open a tin of soup or, if feeling more ambitious, try one of the recipes from the parish recipe book. Everyone was encouraged to be frugal with their meal and donate their savings to CAFOD directly or via the parish’s new  ‘Just Giving’ page.  A total of £1,185 has already been received via the Just Giving page and the parish plan to use it for further fundraising events.

Parish Priest Fr Ioan Sander was delighted to be reunited with some of his ‘lost sheep’ online, saying grace before the meal and finishing the event with a blessing. Before eating everyone described their soup and how they made it, varieties served ranged from gazpacho to carrot and coriander to broccoli and stilton.

After the meal Jane Crone gave a PowerPoint update about the progress of the CAFOD Coronavirus Appeal which is enabling CAFOD scale up its support to local aid experts providing food to vulnerable families, and improving handwashing and sanitation facilities. CAFOD is also helping churches in developing countries share hygiene messages through Catholic radio stations and produce posters on infection prevention in local dialects.

Finally, everyone described one good thing that had happened to them in the previous week. Stories of simple and thoughtful neighbourly kindness the pleasures of spring weather, allotments and ducklings were very much in the spirit of Laudato Si’.

Parish volunteer Allan Scott said: ‘We were delighted so many parishioners could join our “virtual meal” and learn more from Jane about the CAFOD Coronavirus Appeal. Our soup days have always been welcoming events, this was a unique opportunity to invite a Quaker friend in Edinburgh to join us!’ 

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