Trade as One has been blessed with so many people who have given so much of their time and talent to support what we do. They’ve worked tirelessly to help us accomplish our goals, and we can honestly say that our success has hinged on their efforts. We call these people our stalwarts, and we’re going to profile them here on our blog so that you can see what they’ve done and why they do it. Next on the list: Sherri Meyer. She’s been a steady ally of ours in Chicago, and helped us immensely in pulling off huge and complicated events with Willow Creek Community Church. We’ve posted excerpts from an interview we did with her below. If you’d like to volunteer with us, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
What motivates you to give your time to fair trade/trade as one?
I live in Chicago, and almost every time I’m on the exit ramp near my home, there is a homeless person asking for money. And from time to time, I’ll place money in the person’s cup and hope that he/she will use it to buy food or to provide for some other need. But I have almost no hope that the little cash I give will really turn the person’s life around. To some extent, I think we all have a heart to help and serve the poor. And so we give to various charities or to individuals and hope that the money we give will make a difference. Sometimes we can see the direct results of our giving. But I often wonder if my giving is helping someone in the moment alone (which is still a really great thing), or if it is helping change someone’s circumstances. Fair trade is a tangible way that I can help change someone’s circumstances. And knowing that some of the people who are creating these items are escaping from human trafficking or have HIV/AIDS makes it mean even more.
How have you incorporated fair trade into your life? How is your life different?
Sometimes it’s difficult to think about buying more “stuff when the goal is to try to help people who have very little. So instead of buying stuff that I don’t need, I try to go the fair trade route for items that I already intend to buy — like gifts, tea, journals, cards, etc. The items are high quality, so I never feel like I’m purchasing something that will get thrown into a drawer never to be seen again. However, I need to be honest, I have a long way to go because the convenient option to purchase from the store down the street is, well, convenient. Purchasing fair trade is worth the extra effort, though, and I’m making progress. But beyond the purchases, the fair trade items that are in my home are like a ministry for me. One of the things I love about Trade as One is that you get to know the story behind the person/people who made the item you are purchasing. So every time I look at or use one of my fair trade items, I can think about the person who made it and can pray for him/her.
Which product(s) is/are your fave?
Where do you want Trade as One/fair trade to go in the future?
In the near future, I hope for more awareness for Trade as One and fair trade issues in general. Particularly in the Midwest, it seems that many are not familiar with fair trade, what it means, and why it’s important. I hope awareness will change people’s purchasing habits in the long-run.