“Works of love directed to one’s neighbor are the most perfect external manifestation of the interior grace of the Spirit.”
— Pope Francis
This summer I traveled down the Danube River with my family, and in the Wachau Valley of Austria we were told that apricots were a local gem that could be found in jams, lotions, liqueurs and more. So upon our arrival in the fabled town of Durnstein, I had one goal only: to find some jam!
Along the cobbled streets many stores offered unique apricot products, but it was not the stores with factory jars that intrigued us. There was one worn man, perhaps in his mid-eighties, standing alone on the street with a makeshift table full of jars of jam. I walked up to him and pantomimed as only an American who knows no German can do, pointing gently at him asking “You… make?” He nodded vigorously and said “Ja! Ja. I make,” with a massive proud grin. Then I ventured further to ask, “What is your name?” I pointed to myself saying, “Stephanie. Stephanie…” After a moment he cocked his head and said “Lay-oh-pold!” “Leopold?! Danke.” I said, thrilled that we had achieved this small victory in communication. Leopold then handed me my apricot jam, his hands worn and calloused with work, and we smiled for just a short moment at one another before I was bustled along in the crowds.
I love fair trade because it affords us opportunities like this one of KNOWING. Before I was acquainted with the movement, I truly never thought about where my coffee or cocoa came from. But fair trade opened my eyes and prompted me to ask questions like who am I buying gifts for? Who am I buying gifts from? Who made the gift? Our fair trade campaign this fall comes from this very idea that knowing is love, solidarity, and justice.
So for the next few months on Twitter, on Facebook, and on our blog you are going to see us using the hashtag #YouAreKnown. Whoever the ‘yous’ are, however we can share their and your stories, we want to know.
Tell us what moves you about the fair trade movement, about economic justice – show us your pictures, your videos, write us stories and let’s all know each other a little better.
For the next three months we will be featuring facts, education, information and even an Advent contest (see below) where you can win beautiful fair trade gifts. I invite you to join me on this journey where simply being in relationship with each other really can make a world of difference.
By Stephanie Bosse, CRS Fair Trade Ambassador
Advent Contest Guidelines (Nov. 30–Dec. 28)
How To Enter: Send us your fair trade stories via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Twitter (@CRSFairtrade), or Facebook (Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade) from 11/30/14–12/28/14. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #YouAreKnown! (Note that the hashtag campaign begins during Fair Trade Month and runs through Christmas, but eligibility to win prizes is only during Advent.)
Weekly Advent Prizes: The photos and stories with the most likes, shares, retweets, etc. will receive prizes like coffee, chocolate, olive oil, and crafts. The grand prize winner with the most likes, comments, shares, etc. throughout the Advent Campaign will receive a fair trade gift basket.
What should I share? Tell us how you lift up artisans and farmers around the world through your holiday gift giving. Send us pictures, videos and stories of your fair trade sale, your gifts, your faith community using our new Advent materials, your personal fair trade story, how you know artisans…YOU tell us!
No purchase necessary. Click here for the legalese.
Copyright 2014, Catholic Relief Services