Friday, November 25, 2016

On Fair-Trade Friday, Make Purchases that Matter

Image: Open Clip Art
It's Black Friday. And you know what that means. It's time to separate you from your hard-earned money or to run up your credit debt. And you don't even need to get up at the crack of dawn and battle the crowds at the local mall or big box store. Black Friday lives in cyberspace through the promotions that come into your e-mail inbox. Heck, even a national park and a travel-arrangement site are offering deals via your computer or smartphone.

Setting my cynicism aside, let's talk shopping. Some of those promotions coming into my e-mail are from non-profits or anti-poverty organizations selling fair-trade products or items that directly help someone in a developing country. So let's call today Fair Trade Friday.

I would like to point out that the term Fair Trade Friday already exists. This is a monthly membership club sponsored by Mercy House Global to provide an avenue for women to empower women around the world.The project delivers high quality fair traded items to the door of those who enroll in the club. The items in the box are fairly traded and provide employment to women all over the world.

There are many worthy organizations that offer fairly traded items. I'm providing a list of  a handful of suggestions, including groups that found me by e-mail. These are in alphabetical order, and includes a few sentences on how they promote their catalogs or products. (This is not an exclusive list.  I'm sure I left out many worthy organizations)

Cafe Campesino
Our Purpose is to partner with small-scale coffee farmers, connect communities, and inspire conscious consumption... one great cup of coffee at a time. We do this by Roasting and brewing fantastic organic, fair trade coffee; Building long-term friendships and direct business relationships with farmers and their communities;Getting more money into the hands of hard working coffee farmers;Working to help our Customers to succeed; and Building a community within and around our company - one smile, helping hand, and pat on the back at a time.

What is a Gift of Lasting Change? It’s a gift that empowers people around the world to reach their potential. It’s a gift you’ll be proud to send. It’s a gift anyone will be happy and proud to receive. After World War II, the original CARE Package harnessed the power of generosity in a box. It changed the world by delivering food that relieved suffering across a devastated Europe. Today’s CARE Package is different. It provides relief today and the foundation of a better tomorrow. But it’s built on the same truth as the very first CARE Package — that when you give of yourself, you can be the difference in people’s lives.

Catholic Relief Services
CRS offers two ways to give back. You can either purchase fair trade products (via the CRS Fair Trade Catalog) or give a donation to a specific type of project in developing countries through Gifts of Hope (goods and services that help transform families and communities for the long term).

Church World Service
These gifts are examples of how Church World Service works in partnership to find effective ways of tackling poverty and injustice. Whatever gift you choose, you will provide vital support to those in need through CWS development programs. Your gift helps bring genuine and lasting change to those who need it most.

Colores del Pueblo
Since 1997 we have been working with artisan cooperatives in Latin America and primarily Guatemala. Through fair trade practices we hope to inspire postive change in the world. Not only does paying a fair wage help families and communites rise above the cycle of poverty, but it gives them an incentive to continue cultural craft traditions like weaving, basket-making, pottery-making, woodworking and more. And by paying a just wage, our customers are ensured a quality hand-made product.

Heifer International
Our mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. We empower families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity – but our approach is more than just giving them a handout. Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market. Choose a meaningful gift to give a loved one and help children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant. Honor your loved ones with a free card from Heifer with every donation.

Oxfam America
Your symbolic gift is actually a donation that will be used where it is needed the most—to help people living in poverty around the world. Oxfam creates lasting solutions by working with communities and listening to people when they tell us what they need to change their own lives, whether it’s a dozen baby chicks or a chance to start a small business. Everyone benefits. Your friend or loved one gets a unique, memorable gift in his or her honor. You get a receipt for your tax-deductible donation to Oxfam, plus the satisfaction of giving a gift that gives back. And someone in need gets exactly what he or she needs.

Ten Thousand Villages
We are more  than a store. We are a place where you can explore and connect with your global village. From communities throughout the developing world, every inspired design is crafted with love using local materials (usually natural or recycled) and time-honored skills by makers we have known and worked with for years. Every purchase improves the lives of makers by supporting their craft and providing a fair, stable income.

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