Editors: You are most welcome to use this CRS column in your publications. This version appeared on the website for the Diocese of St. Augustine, Fla., and they used examples specific to their diocese. For more information, or for photos to accompany the story, please contact CRS communications officer Susan Walters.
By Bill Farrand of Catholic Relief Services
The largest fair trade event of the year is happening in May and Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Fair Trade program is once again a proud supporter. World Fair Trade Day – an event that inspires hundreds of thousands of people in 80 countries to celebrate the importance and benefits of Fair Trade – is on May 12 this year.
Buying Fair Trade products is one easy way Catholics can live their faith by rewarding the hard work of producers. Catholic Social Teaching is filled with guidance on how people of faith can transform the world. This can be done through the simple, everyday decisions we make as consumers. World Fair Trade Day gives Catholics in the United States a chance to make a special connection to farmers and artisans around the world. It can taste good, too.
Meet a CRS Fair Trade Ambassador and find out how to support Fair Trade in your parish, school or community all year long.
Nancy O’Byrne, CRS Fair Trade ambassador for the Diocese of St. Augustine, will be at Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church in Flagler Beach on Sunday, June 3. She will be available to talk to parishioners after each Mass. She recommends serving Fair Trade coffee at your parish coffee hour, parish meetings or selling it after Mass as an easy way to introduce Fair Trade to your parish community.
By the way, Mother’s Day provides a great opportunity to introduce Fair Trade in a fun, thoughtful way. Everyone can enjoy gourmet Fair Trade chocolate and coffee, and Fair Trade purchases support families around the world! Fair Trade items can be obtained through CRS at http://www.crsfairtrade.org/.
The CRS Fair Trade program partners with local coffee companies, including Sweetwater Organic Coffee in Gainesville. CRS Fair Trade partners, at your request, will make a donation to the CRS Fair Trade Fund when you place an order, so your purchases have an even greater impact.
Fair Trade emphasizes a fair wage and safe working conditions while offering hope and dignity to producers. It is a business model that takes into account social values – one that builds equitable, long-term partnerships between consumers in North America and producers in the developing world. Its mission is to empower the most vulnerable farmers and artisans around the globe.
As a leader in the world of Fair Trade, CRS helps make the fair trade model work by training farmers and producers in developing countries and by building demand for fair trade products among Catholics in the United States.
It’s not by chance or accident that fair trade products continue to improve and have earned a higher standing on the shelves of grocery stores and markets across the country. It’s the result of hard work, education, training and partnership between those who produce the goods, those who import the goods, and the consumer who purchases the goods.
By creating a reliable market for farmers and artisans, their lives and the lives of family members become more secure; children go to school, medical fees are covered, living conditions improve.
Around the world, the majority of fair trade craft producers are women. Young and old, women around the world are earning a living by selling their artistic handicrafts through partners who are committed to the fair trade model of trade.
This year as you think about honoring the mothers you know and love, think about honoring them with a gift that comes from the hands of a fair trade farmer or artisan, chances are she’s a mother too.
Catholic Relief Services is the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency provides assistance to people in more than 100 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, nationality or creed. For more information, please visit http://www.crs.org/ or http://www.crsespanol.org/.