Cake sale suc­cess helps bring vic­tory to vil­lagers fac­ing evic­tion

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

FOR two decades, a Che­sham church has been bak­ing for Brazil­ian com­mu­ni­ties, and with their sup­port, a char­ity’s part­ners have helped the 378 fam­i­lies of Prestes Maia to find a per­ma­nent home.

The Che­sham Union of Catholic Moth­ers (UCM) group at St. Columba’s RC Church, in Berkhamp­stead Road, has held a monthly cof­fee morn­ing and bake sale to sup­port the Catholic Agency For Over­seas Development’s (CAFOD) work in Brazil.

Over the years, they have sold var­i­ous types of cakes – but one thing re­mains the same, it is al­ways a sell-out.

In 2012, the group be­gan sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity of Prestes Maia, who were fac­ing evic­tion from their homes.

Fi­nally, in Oc­to­ber 2015, fol­low­ing 15 years of cam­paign­ing by home­less fam­i­lies and CAFOD part­ner, APOIO, the lo­cal gov­ern­ment of São Paulo signed over more than £4mil­lion for the com­pul­sory pur­chase of the Prestes Maia build­ing.

The news rep­re­sents a fan­tas­tic vic­tory for APOIO and the 1,000 strong com­mu­nity, as the build­ing is now planned to be con­verted into so­cial hous­ing.

The on­go­ing fi­nan­cial and spir­i­tual sup­port from the par­ish for the com­mu­nity meant they had the re­sources and courage to cam­paign for their right to a home.

Cara Hitch­cock, coor­gan­iser of the monthly event in Che­sham, said: “In 1996 when Fr Chris White­house be­came the par­ish priest, CAFOD took on a new and more per­sonal mean­ing for us. He sug­gested we fo­cus our par­ish fundrais­ing ef­forts on a spe­cific CAFOD project. He put his wish into the safe and ca­pa­ble hands of the late Patti War­ren. Patti struck upon the idea of or­gan­is­ing a reg­u­lar monthly cof­fee morn­ing in the Church Hall where peo­ple could meet and so­cialise, to fundraise and to share im­por­tant CAFOD in­for­ma­tion. The cof­fee morn­ings be­came a reg­u­lar and much loved feature among all, adults and chil­dren.

“About 15 years ago, the CAFOD Cof­fee Morn­ings pro­gressed into the form we now know and love as the Monthly CAFOD Cake Sales. Over the years, many, many parish­ioners have kindly and reg­u­larly baked and slaved over their ovens each month to pro­vide some of the most de­li­cious, scrump­tious and cre­ative cakes to sell.”

She added: “Patti War­ren, Adri­enne Gunn, Moira Bur­nett, San­dra Wat­son, Han­nah Evans, Christina Pearce and Jackie Telford, to name just a few, are some of the many ded­i­cated women who have or­gan­ised, baked, ad­ver­tised, set up, cleared away, washed up and do­nated each month.

“In re­cent times the CAFOD Cake Sales have yet again trans­formed; they have ex­panded to of­ten in­clude not only cakes but the ef­forts of our jam, mar­malade and home­made pickle mak­ers.

“This year we are try­ing a new ven­ture by in­clud­ing the pro­duce of our green fin­gered parish­ioners – CAFOD Cake and Home Pro­duce Sale.

“The Con­nect2: Brazil project that we are now part of has been great fun and very in­for­ma­tive. We es­pe­cially like it be­cause of all the feed­back we have had over the years. It is re­ally great to find out what the money raised is be­ing spent on and how it helps im­prove lives.”

CAFOD rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Che­sham Deb­o­rah Pur­field said: “I want to say thank you to ev­ery at St Columba’s for their ded­i­ca­tion to fundrais­ing for CAFOD over the years. Through their gen­eros­ity, time, and com­mit­ment to help­ing the com­mu­ni­ties of Brazil, not only have they made a mas­sive dif­fer­ence, but they have brought their com­mu­nity to­gether and cre­ated real part­ner­ship.”

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