Lent Fast Day: ideas to make a difference

21 February 2017

Pupils at St Godric's held a special Lent soup lunch fundraiser.

Children at St Godric's, Durham, getting involved with Lent Fast Day fundraising with a special Lenten soup lunch for CAFOD.

Lent is coming soon, starting on Ash Wednesday – 1 March. You can use the Lenten season of transformation to make a difference around the world, as every penny donated to the CAFOD Lent Appeal will transform lives overseas.

If you’re wondering what to give up, take up or take on this Lent, look no further. Here are our most popular Lent ideas.

Give it up!

For forty days you can cut out cookies or say no to espresso. Giving something up for Lent is a Catholic tradition, but lots of people use this self-denial as an opportunity to serve Christ, by raising money and help people living in poverty too.

You could work out how much money you’ve saved by giving something up and donate that to our Lent Appeal. You could create or order a CAFOD collection box and put in 50p yourself every time you avoid your vice, or ask your friends and family to sponsor you (JustGiving is a super-easy way to set up a fundraising page).

What should I give up for Lent?

If you’re keen to get involved and give something up for Lent, but struggling to decide what, we’ve got a list of treats people in the CAFOD office are cutting out:

  • Journeys by car or bus
  • Meat (if you’re giving up meat, keep an eye on our Facebook page for vegetarian recipes throughout Lent)
  • Chocolate
  • Taking the lift upstairs
  • Coffee, tea or all caffeine
  • Coca Cola
  • Alcohol

If you still can’t decide what to cut out, ask a friend what they think you should do, and get them to sponsor you for it! Most importantly, by sponsoring you, your friends will be giving you encouragement and helping people living in poverty – double the motivation!

Reflect with the words of Pope Francis

Pope Francis has recently put out a letter encouraging all Catholics to engage with the season of Lent. In his Message for Lent 2017 he said:

"May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need.

“I encourage all the faithful to express this spiritual renewal also by sharing in the Lenten Campaigns promoted by many Church organisations in different parts of the world, and thus to favour the culture of encounter in our one human family.”

Hold a group event

Plant sale event volunteers

Event volunteers in the New Forest organised a plant sale to raise money for CAFOD.

Get your friends and community together and use our Lent Fast Day resources to organise a special event (or series of events). Lots of parish groups hold simple soup lunches throughout Lent – including on Lent Fast Day – coming together to cook and then charging a small amount for the meal. Bringing the local community together to help our global community!

Take a look at our how to guides to help you raise money as a group:

Take on a challenge or take up something new

Anna and Simon Bourke live on £1 a day

Derby Anna and Simon Bourke live on £1 a day for Lent Fast Day

Another way to approach Lent could be to take on a challenge. It could be something that brings you closer to God, or helps you understand Jesus’ time in the desert; something you can use to raise money for the world’s poorest people; or a way to make your own life better.

In the past supporters have told us about their amazing challenges. Some have lived on just £1 a day for food, others have run the London Marathon or skydived and we’ve even had Fred who cycled around the country to support the Lent campaign. 

Let us know what you’re up to this Lent! Tell us on Facebook or Twitter

Pray for a better world

Find time this Lent for prayer and reflection. You can use our Lent calendar with its daily reflections on the Gospel and sign up for our Friday reflection emails.

Please pray for our sisters and brothers living in poverty and everyone working to help them this Lent.

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