Two Southern California towns, Claremont and Pasadena, have recently become Fair Trade Towns, among only 32 cities in the nation so designated. And it just so happens that a local parish’s JustFaith group provided the spark that ignited the communities’ interest.
At the end of a JustFaith program at Our Lady of the Assumption (OLA) in Claremont, the grads were looking to start a ministry that would enhance awareness of Catholic social teaching at their parish but also be something tangible and accessible to all parishioners.
Their fair trade ministry began to take shape in 2010 after Jim DeHarpporte, Regional Director of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for the Western United States, spoke to the group about the agency’s fair trade program which includes educational resources and the sale of fair trade products.
The effort was formally started with twice monthly sales of coffee and chocolate. The sales built awareness, educated parishioners and provided opportunities for conversations about the relevance of fair trade to the Church’s social teaching.