Three hundred thousand volunteers will be pounding pavements this week distributing thirteen million red envelopes for Christian Aid Week, which starts next Sunday (May 10- 16).
Volunteers across the country will be checking that everything is in place for the thousands of sponsored events and quizzes marking a week which has a key place in the church calendar and is one of the UK’s largest community fundraising events.
Last year, supporters collected a total of £14.7 million to help Christian Aid in its war on poverty. This year, they hope to top that with events ranging from a sponsored Bach concert in Sheffield to a children’s karaoke and beauty night in Wales; whilst in Chelmsford the Rev Roger Gayler is raising money by shaving off half his beard and then will preach and work with half a beard all week.
Nadia Kabula, an 18-year-old girl from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is typical of those whose lives have been transformed by Christian Aid’s support for partner organisations in some 49 countries around the world.
When her father died, Nadia’s family struggled desperately to make ends meet. But a tailoring course run by Christian Aid partner Humanité Nouvelle has allowed Nadia to imagine a brighter future – and to hope that she may one day be able to open her own business.
As well as perfecting her own dress making abilities, Nadia is giving others the chance of a fuller life by passing on her skills and her love of fashion to other young girls in her community. "They’ve given me education for life," said Nadia.
Anne Phipps, Head of Church Marketing and Appeals at Christian Aid, said: "This year, in the face of the credit crunch, Christian Aid Week is of crucial importance.
"Some people will feel less able to give and that is understandable. Many others, however, will recognise the global economic crisis is hitting the poor in vulnerable communities hardest of all.
"Our supporters constantly amaze me. Whether collecting door–to-door, putting quiz teams together or doing 101 other exciting and amazing fundraising events, the commitment is phenomenal."
Last year, Christian Aid introduced Quizaid in which people used their brain power to raise £185,000 while having fun at the same time. Quizzes are organised amongst friends, family, work colleagues or in the pub.
This year the target is £225,000. To persuade even more people to get involved, four new levels of questions have been introduced - Brainiacs, Average Joe’s, 11-18 year olds or under-10s. Packs with everything you need to organise a quiz can be downloaded from www.christianaid.org.uk/quizaid.
The names of all quiz organisers will go into a draw for a year’s supply of chocolate courtesy of the fair trade company, Divine Chocolate. There will also be a separate draw for quiz participants.