After each balmy summer comes autumn.
The air chills, the days grow shorter. We gather our gloves, scarfs and winter coats. We brace ourselves against the approaching wind, cold and rain.
In our fields, the sun says a final goodbye. Its work is done. Now harvest must begin.
The word ‘harvest’ comes from the old English haerfest meaning autumn, the days between late August and November when, traditionally, we would have plucked, gathered and stowed our crops for winter.
Lives depended on the success of these crops, and entire communities, men, women and children, would work tirelessly to make sure the haerfest was finished before the first frost.
During haerfest, wheat would be milled to flour, vegetables and fruits would be transformed into chutneys and jams, and fish and meats would be pickled and smoked – preserving the best of the year’s bounty for the long winter ahead.
A successful haerfest would be celebrated with a gathering of overflowing plates and people. All would welcome this festival and relish this day of thanksgiving: sharing blessings for the crop and for knowing, for first time since the seeds were sown in spring, there would be enough food, and that lives would be lived, and saved.
Harvest has always been a celebration of food and life, and each autumn, when we launch our Harvest appeal, we aim to support anyone who is facing extreme hardship or homelessness over the winter months.
We do this by asking for your generosity and donated food.
Food donations from Harvest allow us to provide food parcels to individuals and families who need our help. In the colder months, when many families are forced to make the very real choice between heating their homes and feeding their children, we are able to ensure that their hunger is stilled.
These food donations also allow us to make and serve hot meals at our Street Alternatives project. Four times a week, anyone who is sleeping rough or does not have access to cooking facilities, can come to us to use our laundry facilities, have a shower and eat a three course home cooked meal. We served over 5,400 hot meals last year, and provided security, shelter and warmth to many in need.
For us, harvest is about cans, cup a soups and jars of sauce. It is a time when we throw open our doors to you, and your donations, and stockpile.
With your help during Harvest, we can safeguard our services and protect our service users. We can prepare for the winter and, come December, warm cold hands and settle rumbling stomachs.
We can honour the traditions of haerfest past, of community supporting community, of food in all its simple splendour, and lives lived and saved.
We may not have crops to collect, but there will be cans to sort and many mouths to feed.
This Harvest we would appreciate donations of the following items:
- Tinned meat, fruit and vegetables
- Tinned and cup soups
- Tinned macaroni
- Tinned puddings
- Baked beans
- Instant and pot noodles
- Instant pasta meals
- Pasta sauce
- Porridge and cereals
- Biscuits and cereal bars
- Tea bags, coffee, hot chocolate
In addition we also give out toiletry packs and always appreciate donations of shampoo, shower gel, shaving foam, razors and deodorant.
Donations can be dropped off at our office at 62 Summer Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1SD. We’re open at the following times:
Monday – Thursday: 9.00am-5.00pm
If you have any questions about our Harvest Appeal or if you would like to organise a collection with your school, community group or church, and are interested in learning more about the work of Aberdeen Cyrenians, please contact Vanessa, our Community and Events Fundraiser at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01224 625732.