Recently, I came across an article from The Frederick News-Post, a newspaper based in Frederick County, MD, that told an encouraging story. I thought you would appreciate it, too.
To sum up the piece: youth group members from two local Lutheran churches have teamed up to have "Christmas in July" Fair Trade Sale at their church. The sale serves many purposes: first and foremost, it raises money for the church youth group; perhaps more importantly, it's a way for children to learn about the people and places where the goods come from, and in turn, build educational bridges with members of their communities who don't necessarily know about Fair Trade or attend one of these two churches.
While I was attending Eastern University, a group of student activists I was involved with, SPEAK, were working hard to get Fair Trade coffee into our dining commons. So often, it felt as though we would be making so much progress and then hit a brick wall. Other times, the consistent meetings with the campus dining managers seemed unproductive. It was easy to look around and feel like progress was not being made; sometimes we felt very alone in our efforts, like we were wasting our time. Eventually, though, we did it. Now, with the exception of one popular-brand machine, our Dining Commons, cafes and at most of our on-campus conference, one can find hotpots full of Lamont Fairly Traded, Shade Grown, Organic Coffee.
As we prepare for the next phase of the Fair Trade Boston Campaign in the coming weeks, let's not forget that people all over the world are laboring to love our neighbors and finding creative ways to address the concern of global poverty. Surely, there will be days when the work is difficult and the marks of progress are difficult to see. The past success of groups like SPEAK, or more recently, the work of our brothers and sisters in Frederick County reminds me that we are all members of one body, working toward a common goal. Let's continue to spur one another on toward good deeds, celebrate the victories small and large, and think creatively about how we can express our faith with justice in mind.
Ben Cressy is a recent graduate of Eastern University, in St. Davids, PA. He is currently working as the BFJN's organizing coordinator, working part-time for 10,000 Villages in Brookline, and lives in the Uphams Corner neighborhood of Dorchester, of which is proud to start calling home.