My uncle lives in Montana. When he comes back to Kansas for a visit, he likes to go to the general store in the little town near my parents’ farm. When I was in high school or maybe even college I remember asking him why he liked to go shopping at this joint. In my mind, if he knew that he needed something, he should just go to the other town nearby that has bigger stores with more options… and probably the price would be lower.
He said that he wanted to support the places that he wants to stay open.
Clearly I had ears to hear this lesson because I remember it so vividly. I’m thankful for that 60 seconds of education.
A long running and beloved Fair Trade store in Newton, Kansas, closed a year or so ago. In that same chain, the shop in Wichita closed leaving the largest city in Kansas without a full Fair Trade store. There are people who absolutely loved those stores. They volunteered at them. They often shopped at them…
This is what I’ve learned: If we really believe in something, then we need to actually put our money behind our beliefs and suggest to others that they do the same.
Pointedly, in reference to Fair Trade, always shopping at full Fair Trade stores first when a need arises is what support looks like. Telling friends to do the same and actually bringing them into our stores is great support.
I get to go to First Presbyterian Church in Salina this Sunday to sell Fair Trade, raise awareness about Fair Trade in general and our store in particular. This is the second year they have had me and are lovely people.
Here’s the kicker about this church. They don’t expect any donation back from me for hosting a Market. Also, they know that they could have a sale themselves through SERRV or Ten Thousand Villages (or a variety of others) and use money raised for their own outreach projects. They choose not to do so.
This is part of their mission: to raise awareness while helping keep Connected sustained so that a fair market system for the poor and oppressed can continue here all year around.
THAT’S awesome. I’m grateful.
I’m grateful for my uncle, First Presbyterian, and all of those who teach by example.
Right: Miss Rosemary, energetic member of the church, and Chealsea, gifted one in the Church Office, designed this bulletin insert and poster for their congregation. It's better than anything I've ever created for myself! In the wise words of Kathy Richardson, Small World Gallery, "Isn't it great when other people do our jobs better than we do? And they share?" ;)!
Rosemary also spoke during church last Sunday about Fair Trade and this week's Market. It sounds like she had some zip and did a great job! She even mailed the insert to some of her friends and encouraged them to stop by. An exemplar, I tell you!