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Adrienne Curry is the Catholic Relief Services program director for the Archdiocese of Chicago Office for Peace and Justice.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fair Trade

“Where your treasure is, there your heart is also.  Mark 6:21

Our faith calls us to demonstrate a special concern for the most vulnerable members of the human family through concrete action on behalf of the poor.  At the diocesan and parish levels, the temptation to isolate our communal acts of generosity is sometimes great.  The realities of rising costs and the variety of worthy causes, from international disasters to local ministries, may make it difficult to allocate extra funds like purchasing Fair Trade coffee.

Fair Trade provides hope for small-scale farmers all around the world who have been trapped in poverty by international market forces over which they have no control.  It guarantees prices that enable producers to cover their costs of production and provide a decent standard of living for their families.  It reminds us there are people behind all the things we consume.  And, it allows us to make consumer choices that are consistent with the values of our faith - choices that respect human dignity, promote economic justice and build a true sense of global solidarity.

Fair Trade coffee costs more than the coffee most diocesan offices or parishes serve.  There are some simple but effective measures to get around this dilemma.  In parishes, by distributing CRS Fair Trade educational materials during coffee hour and inviting parishioners to make voluntary contributions to a Fair Trade donation jar, many parishes are able to cover their costs.  Diocesan offices can do the same in their coffee rooms.  Other dioceses and parishes generate revenue by selling packaged Fair Trade coffees, teas, and chocolates during weekly or monthly sales as a fundraiser.  By adding just a small amount to the price of each item, the costs are covered. 

There are five Fair Trade coffee partners in the area.  For more information contact me at 312/534-8367 or acurry@archchicago.org

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Comments

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 9:11 AM

Thanks for the great information about our program and the frank, solution-oriented talk about coffee prices. I invite folks to check out the crsfairtrade.org website under "news" for more information about why current prices seem to be rising. And I encourage everyone to seek out from CRS partners wholesale prices to supplement the other good ideas posted.

Jackie D.

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