The following article was written by Kayleigh DeMello, Fundraising Program Representative
Delia Santos, the fabulous Ms. Kim Montgomery, Lydia Santos Westchester Academy for International Studies Spring Branch I.S.D.
Organic, Green and Fair Trade: these are three words you don’t usually find in your kid’s school fundraiser. In a market littered with cheap tricks and even cheaper products, here’s an alternative to making your next fundraiser good for the environment, good for small farmers and good for you!
Many of us have been there… staring down at a glossy catalog, our eyes glazing over from one crowded page to the next. A small child is bouncing on their toes nearby, eagerly awaiting your purchasing decision and thinking only of the plastic toy (made in China) that they will receive at the end of this for all their hard work. At this point we close our eyes and point to something at random. This time: a tub full of cookie dough. The last time: holographic gift wrap that made your head hurt just thinking how and where or how it was made.
The truth is these items sell. Schools need to fundraise in order to offer important services, like after- school programs, classes focusing on the arts and sciences, even paying for practical and common sense items like markers, tape and special reading materials. The large fundraising companies cater to these needs, touting large margins in exchange for inexpensive junk. We buy because we care about our schools and our community… but there are alternatives available that allow us to support our schools while also supporting a more fair and just food system.
I’d like to introduce you to Equal Exchange Fundraising: a program of the first and largest Fair Trade company in the United States. Equal Exchange offers something you won’t find anywhere else in the fundraising world: organic and fairly traded foods, beautiful fairly traded gifts and recycled cotton gift wrap (tree-free!). With Equal Exchange Fundraising, your school or organization can support sustainability, enjoy award-winning products and make a difference in the lives of small farmers and artisans across the globe.
Hundreds of schools have made the switch. “I don’t think I could do any other fundraiser,” said Kim Montgomery, a seventh grade teacher in Houston, Texas, who has participated in the fundraiser for the past three years. “The Equal Exchange fundraiser has great products and a good mission.” These products include fairly traded and organic coffee, chocolate bars, cocoa, tea, and healthy snacks – things people consume every day. Here’s a fundraiser that helps fund a school’s valuable programs – things like arts and science programs – while also benefitting small-scale farmers who grow really high-quality foods in remote parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The Equal Exchange Fundraising Program also provides an opportunity to talk with kids about where their foods come from, how wealth is distributed around the world, and how we can make choices as consumers to make that wealth distribution fairer. There’s even a Fair Trade curriculum, Win-Win Solutions. With this curriculum, your child can learn about the life of a cocoa farmer and how their daily actions have direct impact on the lives of farmers across the globe.
You can contribute to a more just world, be green, raise money for your school and eat well – all in one simple fundraiser. For more information and to sign up for a free info kit, go to www.equalexchange.coop/fundraiser.
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