BOURNEMOUTH parishioners have come together to raise money to help millions of people in East Africa who face starvation every single day.

Throughout March, members of Our Lady Immaculate hosted a series of soup lunches - a tradition that has taken place for the last three years.

Each Friday of Lent parishioners gather to enjoy a light nibble after mass.

More than 36 people attended the lunch on St Patrick's Day, paying £3 each. In total, over £250 was raised, contributing to CAFOD's aid work in some of the most deprived parts of the world.

CAFOD volunteer and co-organiser Susan Kelly said: “We run the soup lunch to raise money but also it’s good for the parish to come together for Lent. There’s a real community spirit, people come and chat and enjoy the soup, and for many of parishioners it’s a nice thing to do after mass.”

In East Africa, there are currently over 16 million people in need of urgent food and other life-saving assistance. Despite the challenges, CAFOD tries to ensure aid reaches the families who are most in need, through the network of trusted local organisations which CAFOD works with in South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

The money raised by Our Lady Immaculate will help CAFOD ensure that assistance reaches those who desperately need it.

Chris Bain, CAFOD’s director, added: “We would like to say a huge thanks to supporters in the Catholic community in England and Wales who once again have given generously, coming together to help communities affected by drought and conflict.

"Across England and Wales, our supporters have been giving whatever they can; as individuals, schools and parishes.”

“The generosity of the British population as a whole has also been heart-warming. CAFOD is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), whose East Africa Crisis Appeal has raised over £42 million.”