A NEW Harvest campaign is urging Christians to enjoy a meal with friends and neighbours this autumn, to raise money for thousands of refugee children fleeing conflict in South Sudan.
The campaign has been launched by World Vision in partnership with the UK mission agency Hope, and is backed by a former star of BBC TV’s The Great British Bake Off, Selasi Gbormittah.
The appeal hopes to raise £200,000 to help children who have fled South Sudan into Uganda, many of whom have seen their parents and relatives murdered in the civil war.
Earlier this year, the UN Refugee Centre estimated that more than 100 children were fleeing from South Sudan each day, and walking alone to neighbouring Uganda .
A World Vision spokeswoman said that more than a million refugees from South Sudan were now living in northern Uganda, 600,000 of whom are children, many unaccompanied.
Mr Gbormittah, an ambassador for World Vision, recently visited Bidi Bidi, the world’s largest refugee camp, where he cooked for refugees. He said: “It’s heartbreaking to see pain and hunger etched on to the faces of orphaned children, and hear their harrowing stories of rape and violence. It is vital that, as a community, we come together to do what we can to help provide these kids with a better future.”
The appeal is also asking churches to consider donating money from their harvest suppers, as well as from simple meals with family and friends. People who take part are encouraged to post their meal on social media, to win a meal for two with Mr Gbormittah.
The director of Hope, Roy Crowne, said: “Hospitality lies at the heart of the Christian faith, and sharing a meal together is such an intimate and important event in our homes. It encourages people to feel relaxed and feel a real sense of connection. Hope wants to put Harvest back at the centre of church and community life — to see a culture of gratitude, hospitality, and generosity becoming an important part of every community.”
Free “Share a Meal” packs, containing tips on planning a meal, with invitations and recipes, are available at worldvision.org.uk/shareameal.