Gifts that Give Hope: Work of Human Hands Sale -
Fair Trade Crafts and Specialty Foods
The 14th annual Work of Human Hands Sale sponsored by St. Mary’s Social Justice Committee will take place at St. Mary’s on the first weekend of December in the Activity Center. Not only does this give our community an opportunity to see and buy beautiful handcrafts and delicious gourmet foods from around the world, but this offers a shopping alternative that reflects the values of our faith by putting our dollars toward helping the artisans and producers of these fair traded items.
What benefit is there from a project such as this?
The Work of Human Hands program is a partnership between Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and SERRV, a nonprofit organization with a mission to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide. These organizations collaborate to bring high-quality handcrafts and specialty food items from small-scale artisans and farmers worldwide to consumers in the US as part of their shared mission to promote human dignity and self-sufficiency.
How does purchasing Work of Human Hands products help to build a world with less poverty?
The always-popular chocolate bars and coffee, as well as the handcrafts available at the sale are Fair Traded. “Fair Trade” refers to the exchange of goods based on principles of economic and social justice. The key goals of Fair Trade are to empower low-income, disadvantaged or otherwise marginalized artisans and farmers around the globe by giving them access to US and European markets to better their conditions and to promote understanding between them and consumers.
In contrast with large manufacturers, there are no middlemen and instead, a significant portion of the price of the products is returned directly to the cooperatives who produce the goods. The workers are assured decent working conditions and paid a just wage for their crafts, thus helping to eliminate “sweatshop conditions” and providing dignity, hope and income to poor families in many parts of the world. That means that artisans and farmers are able to afford food, clean water, shelter, basic healthcare, and education for their families. With stable income, these artisans and farmers are able to pull their families out of poverty’s strong hold.