Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fair Trade Gifts for the Holidays

At my parish, we have just ordered a consignment of Fair Trade craft items from Catholic Relief Services. My Social Concerns Committee will hold a craft sale at the end of October so people can do some Christmas shopping with a conscience. We are not doing this to raise money, but rather, to raise awareness of Fair Trade crafts, coffee and chocolate.

The sale will literally help the artisans help themselves up and out of poverty, and with dignity.

As American consumers, we can use our purchases to help people who are poor around the world lift themselves, their families, and their communities up and out of poverty. I think the key is that Catholic Relief Services is on the ground in communities around the world, helping people learn better farming methods, gain money management skills, establish schools, etc. CRS eliminates the middle man, bringing gifts, chocolate, coffee, etc., direct from the artisans and farmers to us, the consumer, and guaranteeing that the artisans and farmers get a living wage.

I have personally bought Fair Trade gifts for all of my out-of-town relatives for four years now, and everyone is very happy with the quality. The Divine Chocolate is wonderful (and the women of my family are connoisseurs). Fair Trade coffee and teas are available in stores all around my town (Target, Safeway, Trader Joe's, Peet's Coffee & Tea, etc).

The Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade website explains it all very well: http://www.crsfairtrade.org/

If you want to hold a gift, chocolate or coffee sale yourself, it is very, very easy. The CRS website has step-by-step instructions with beautiful flyers and posters to help you promote your sale.

If you want to do some Christmas shopping for yourself, you can buy products online at the CRS Fair Trade website.

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