When our Social Justice Team leaders, who are part of the Inviting All Ministry Team, heard about the unfair wage that most coffee bean farmers were being paid for their labors, they asked that Epworth stop buying coffee traded this way and to form a Fair Trade Ministry Team. This team now sells fair trade items on the 1st Sunday of each month during Fellowship Hour. These items include, coffee – of course, tea and delicious chocolates. Additionally, ALL coffee and tea served at Epworth is purchased through the Equal Exchange Coop. More information is below.
What is fair trade? The key here is “fair” – to the farmer and to the consumer. Fair trade organizations empower family farmers around the world by offering a fair price for their
harvest in contrast to creating dependency on “aid.” By eliminating several layers of
brokers, distributors and importers / exporters, fair trade enables small farmers in
developing countries to build sustainable businesses that positively support communities.
The Social Justice Ministry sells fair trade coffee, tea, chocolate, olive oil and other items the first Sunday of each month in Fellowship Hall.
We have chosen to participate in the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s (UMCOR’s) coffee project. This project was started to involve more Methodist communities and individuals in supporting small farmers around the world. UMCOR chose Equal Exchange Coop (co-op) as a partner because of its devotion to purchasing from small farmer cooperatives. The UMCOR coffee project has
expanded beyond coffee to other fair trade products. A small portion of each sale at Epworth supports the work of UMCOR and also the Social Justice programs at Epworth. (More information is available here – click on United Methodist Committee
The Social Justice Pathway believes that with this ministry, Epworth is making a measurable difference. In 2014, Equal Exchange customers bought over 3.3 million pounds of coffee – equivalent to the annual harvest of 1,614 small family farms. Now, that’s impact!
We could use your help. Of course, your purchases of delicious fair trade products are important. But if you’d like to take the next step, volunteers are needed to keep this important ministry alive. On the first Sunday of each month, we need people to help set-up or break-down the fair trade display and/or help sell products. We could also use your help with marketing or ordering. If you’d like more information, or would like to volunteer, please contact Jackie Shockley at email@example.com.