As the season of Advent draws closer, Catholic Relief Services and a fair trade group are encouraging consumers to be mindful of where they buy their Christmas gifts. reports the Catholic News Agency.
'We ought to be aware of how we’re connected,' said Rodney North of Equal Exchange, a fair trade group based in Massachusetts.
Since 2007, Catholic Relief Services has worked with Equal Exchange to involve more US Catholics in their work of improving the lives of those in developing nations. Now, thanks to a revamped online store and Christmas bazaar program, it’s easier than ever to support rural communities.
'The relationship began because of this coincidence in values,' North told CNA in a recent interview.
Catholic Relief Services works to help improve the well-being of those in need, usually on the ground level of charities, while Equal Exchange works as a 'friendly buyer' for small farmers and farming co-ops throughout the world. Even if the market forces prices down, Equal Exchange guarantees a fair wage for their products.
'If nothing else, this partnership is educating people about their connections with others,' North explained. 'Every day through the banana you buy, through the coffee you drink, you’re connected to these people and you should think about that.'
While most people are familiar with the constant fluctuation of marketplace prices, he said, what many people may not realize is the devastating impact these changes can have on producers in developing nations.