Students put their best foot forward to help fight poverty

Mohammed, youngster in Sierra Leone who is being helped by the CAFOD charity SUS-140320-151558001
Mohammed, youngster in Sierra Leone who is being helped by the CAFOD charity SUS-140320-151558001

Students from a local school are marching through Bexhill today (March 28) to help fight poverty in East Sussex and abroad.

Pupils from Bexhill’s St. Richard’s Catholic College will be raising money for international charity the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) by undertaking a sponsored walk at the end of the school day along Bexhill seafront and beach. The youngsters will carry food items and deliver them to Bexhill Foodbank to raise awareness of hunger both at home and across Africa, Asia and Latin America, where CAFOD works with local communities to tackle poverty and fight for justice. A CAFOD spokesperson said the charity works wherever the need is greatest, regardless of faith, background or gender.

St Richard’s chaplain, Katrina Avery, said representatives from each form at St. Richard’s are again asking family and friends to dig deep and sponsor them on the walk, adding: “We’re donating the food to people going hungry in our local area and raising money to help those struggling for food in the global community.

“When we carried out the walk last year we had over 130 pupils involved. This year we’re hoping to have even more.”

The money raised by St Richards is going to CAFOD’s ‘Dig Deep’ Lent appeal, an annual fundraising event which this year will focus on Sierra Leone. The West African country emerged from a decade of brutal civil war in 2002, leaving 2.6 million people homeless – five times the population of East Sussex.

Extreme poverty remains a major issue in Sierra Leone, especially during the annual ‘hungry season’. With CAFOD’s support, families are transforming the former diamond mines, which fuelled the conflict, into fertile land so they can grow crops all year round.

Katrina said: “We also supported CAFOD’s Dig Deep appeal with an Ash Wednesday service praying for and showing solidarity with those going hungry each day.”

CAFOD’s manager for the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, Martin Brown, said: “Lent is a time when we stop and reflect on our lives and relationships. Even though the world produces enough food for everyone, one in eight people worldwide go hungry each day – whether because of climate, conflict, or lack of training on effective farming techniques.

“By digging deep, pupils from St. Richard’s are making a difference. The money that grows from their activities will help transform the lives of people living in poverty. CAFOD would like to thank them for all their support.”