Local Secretaries, the amazing volunteers who coordinate and collect Red Boxes from parishes and distribute Mission Today Magazine to supporters across England and Wales are the backbone of Missio! Trish Dodd is a Local Secretary at Christ the King, Bromborough. She shared with us what being a Red Box Secretary involves and how it’s changed during COVID-19 restrictions.
‘I took over as local secretary in 2015 from a lovely lady called Colette who had done the job for many years. Every Christmas I send Colette a card, and a letter telling her how the Red Box collection has gone. This year’s letter is going to be a long one!
‘We have 108 Red Box holders in our parish. Normally by the end of September our 10 promoters would have received their packs from me and start getting in touch with them. I contacted the promoters and found out that only one was able to carry on as normal but all the others were, in differing degrees, a bit hesitant about doing the rounds as normal this year. Many of them are over 70, some have been self-isolating over the lockdown period.
Many of our volunteers have been hampered by lockdown. Could you help Missio bring in the boxes? Find out how t volunteer here>>
Getting creative with collections
We decided to ask the Box holders, where possible, to count and bank their own Red boxes and hand their donations in to the presbytery. For those who couldn’t do this, the promoters would be in touch with them in due course. I put a message in the Parish newsletter. Response was a little slow to begin with, but it was a new way of doing things for our parishioners and we didn’t know how it would pan out. I also didn’t know how many of them were able to attend Mass or seeing the newsletter.
In October I received the latest edition of Mission Together magazine. This was a great opportunity, whilst hand-delivering the magazines, to attach a message about the Red Boxes and make sure every Red Box holder should have seen the message.
This seemed to work – by Wed 21st I had received donations from, or otherwise heard from, 63 of the 108 holders. I was very pleased with this response as it left just 45 people to be contacted by the promoters, much less work for them.
I had feared that donations would be down this year, but comparing with last year most people seem to have given more, not less. I have been touched by people’s generosity. I was able to bank £1345 last week. And there is more to come.
Thank you so much for continuing to support us through COVID-19. If you can’t deliver your Red Box in person, you can still donate directly here>>
Taking care of our promoters
The promoters got their packs last Friday. I included in my covering letter some guidance for safe collecting (not that they need telling after all these months of precautions but best to be safe!). I have had some feedback that some Red Box holders have sent their donation straight to Missio. I think I heard somewhere that you do your best to match up donations to parishes but not to worry, it all goes to the same place. But our final figure may be down. However it seems some people may be writing a cheque but not emptying the box, so it’ll still be there for us one day!
Could you spare a few hours for Missio? Find out about all our volunteering opportunities here>>
Pounding the pavements
It’s a strange year and we have had to do things differently but I am so proud of our parishioners and our wonderful team of promoters and how they’ve responded. In the summer, my husband and I completed the distribution of the magazines by combining it with our daily walks.
In total, we covered 25 miles on foot and 9 miles on the bikes, over five days. For the October magazines we just cycled (much quicker!), covering 19 miles over three days. So this is keeping us fit too!
I hope this is repeated all over the country.’
Thank you so much to Trish and all of our Local Secretaries and collectors for your amazing work for Missio! If this story has inspired you to help, find all our volunteering opportunities here>>