The CAFOD Hope Valley Group has worked hard over the past 20 years raising funds for a whole variety of causes and appeals. As one of its members explains: “We’re a small group, based in the parishes of St Michael, Hathersage and Our Lady of Sorrows, Bamford.
“Here in the Hope Valley, we don’t often have much in the way of catastrophe – the occasional small flood, the odd snowstorm, traffic congestion, a hosepipe ban now and again…
“But we have never experienced real drought and vegetable carnage in our neat gardens. Supermarkets and the milkman deliver, clean water gushes from taps in homes and gardens. We eat well, drink moderately and make merry. Our children are well-schooled and our elderly in careful hands.
“So what is it about the food crisis in Zimbabwe and Zambia that has touched our hearts? The Hope Valley community, it must be said, is hardly diverse but that matters not one bit when we read of failed harvests and drought; of the aftermath of Cyclone Idal, of climate change and economic turmoil; of millions of people in need of food and clean water; of families forced to survive on wild fruits and leaves. Think of having to walk from Sheffield to Hathersage, not for pleasure but for as much water as you could carry home.
“In the scheme of things the £1,000 our group has sent to CAFOD is very little. What really matters is that we give a damn, thinking beyond ourselves, caring about our brothers and sisters in Christ. Just like our Hope Valley community, the people of Zimbabwe and Zambia are our people too.
“If your parish would like to respond to this emergency in Zambia and Zimbabwe visit CAFOD.org.uk. You can find out more at cafod.org.uk/Southern-Africa-food-crisis, and order posters and emergency collection envelopes at cafod.org.uk/Fundraise/Parish-fundraising – there you will also find ideas and guidelines for collections at your local shops or train stations, or other ideas your parish could try.”