Women of the ELCA launched the “Pour Justice to the Brim: The 90 Ton-Challenge” in October 2003, partnering with Lutheran World Relief in its challenge aimed at doubling the amount of fair trade coffee purchased through the LWR Coffee Project. The challenge exceeded expectations! Between October 2003 through October 2004, 113 tons were purchased! And sales have continued to grow since the challenge.
Women of the ELCA has awarded grants to fair trade organizations. In the late 1990s a grant was awarded to Mayaworks, a fair trade organization that empowers indigenous women of Guatemala to achieve economic security by providing markets for their handcrafted products, access to microcredit loans, and expanded educational opportunities.
In our commitment to buying fair trade products, Women of the ELCA also commissioned Mayaworks to create the tote bags used at the 2005 Triennial Gathering in San Antonio.
Fair trade fairs are held throughout the churchwide organization, in congregations and at conventions and other events. Women of the ELCA churchwide staff members are personally committed to fair trade, too, organizing our own LWR fair trade holiday sale for the fourth year in a row in the building complex where the Women of the ELCA churchwide offices are housed. (And if you’re in Chicago next Friday, November 30, stop by our sale!)
This year when shopping for the holidays, take a fair trade approach. When you buy fair trade, not only are you helping build a better future for farmers and artisans, but for their families and their communities as well.
Consider giving fairly traded items this holiday. They really are the gifts that keep on giving! For more information on how to host a fair trade fair, or to purchase fair trade, visit www.lwr.org.
Gabriela Contreras is director for meeting planning.