Fair-trade farmer dries cacao beans at the CONACADO Cooperative in the Dominican Republic.
By Klay S. Williams*
September 27, 2012—On Halloween Evening, Wednesday, October 31, many of us will open our homes to trick-or-treaters or attend Halloween parties or gatherings in our local church communities. What better way to share in the celebration of Halloween than to support UMCOR’s partners at Equal Exchange by purchasing delicious fair-trade chocolate?
“The concept of fair trade is a real way that we as Christians can live out the gospel and put our love into action,” explains June H. Kim, UMCOR Hunger and Poverty executive.
So, how does it work?
Starting October 1, you can order organic milk chocolate minis and organic dark chocolate minis in bulk by visiting http://equalexchange.coop/fairtradehalloween.
“Equal Exchange offers the chocolate minis and information cards that explain fair trade,” shared Darya Mattes, a representative from Equal Exchange’s interfaith program.
Your support in purchasing fair-trade chocolate not only helps small farmer co-ops, but also educates children about how fair trade operates differently than most mainstream corporations dealing in chocolate, coffee, tea, and other products.
“It’s a small action that people can take, a decision someone can make when they have a cup of coffee or buy candy for trick-or-treaters. Equal Exchange’s goal is to give individuals the opportunity to make an impact by choosing fair-trade products. These small actions can lead to real change,” said Mattes.
Local United Methodist Church congregations can also use the concept of fair-trade Halloween chocolate to create a fun and exciting platform to educate youth groups, Sunday school goers, and congregants on the injustices that many children face in West Africa as a result of documented forced child labor.
“Fair trade for Halloween is a real opportunity to understand some of the injustices that are involved in how some companies make money off the backs of the poor. Engaging in fair trade provides an opportunity to make a conscious decision about what a person can do to help dismantle unjust structures, and about what Christ would want us to do,” remarked Kim.
UMCOR’s long-term relationship with Equal Exchange is indicative of the organization’s responsibility in helping to help create a world where fairness, tolerance, and justice are all fundamental ways to co-exist as sisters and brothers.
“Equal Exchange tries to ensure the spirit of why the fair trade movement began—to provide a level playing field for the small-scale farmers and artisans. For consumers, it provides opportunities and a simple way to do mission,” concludes Kim.
Learn more and order fairly traded goods for your family, church, or fellowship group through Equal Exchange. You can also support small-scale farmers through UMCOR’s SA&D program by giving to UMCOR Advance #982188.
*Klay S. Williams is a writer and contributor to www.umcor.org.