UMCOR / News Room / News & Features / Archives 2008 / 1010-Guilt Free Chocolate for Halloween

Guilt Free Chocolate for Halloween

Boston, MA., October 10, 2008— Equal Exchange, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) of the United Methodist Church have partnered to raise awareness about Fair Trade this Halloween.

Fairly traded products provide small-scale farmers a fair living wage and an opportunity to break out of the cycle of poverty. The three organizations have created an educational resource to increase awareness of the UMCOR Coffee Project and the need to advocate with our wallets and voices for better working conditions and prices for cocoa farmers throughout the world.

Now, mini chocolates and trick-o-treat bags can be purchased at www.equalexchange.coop from the Equal Exchange Interfaith Store. Susan Burton, Director of the UM Seminar Program at the General Board of Church and Society, recalls, “After my 3 year old and I went trick-or-treating, I sorted her candy. I found a post card in her bag encouraging me to buy fair trade chocolate. I realized that was another way that I could put my faith into action and I wanted to make this opportunity available to United Methodists.” GBCS joined the partnership between UMCOR and Equal Exchange to encourage people of all ages to buy Fair Trade.

The continuing practice of forced child labor on cocoa farms in West Africa —where 70% of the world’s chocolate is sourced—has been a well documented problem. As an alternative, Fair Trade Certified cocoa is monitored—from the farmers to the store shelf—by independent, non-profit, certifying organizations. FLO International and TransFair USA guarantee that: No child labor or forced labor was used in the production of cocoa; the cocoa was bought directly from a democratically controlled cooperative of small scale farmers; and, the farmers are paid enough money to support their families with food, education and other essentials.

Global Poverty is one of the 4 focus areas of the United Methodist Church. This initiative offers United Methodists an opportunity to increase awareness of systems contributing to global poverty in their churches and beyond by handing out fair trade chocolate and a post card with additional information and resources to support fair trade products. Many local United Methodist Churches already serve Equal Exchange’s Fair Trade products because they recognize their ability to participate in ending the exploitation of child slave laborers on cocoa farms.

Support cocoa farmers, their families and children by purchasing fair trade chocolate for your church, family and friends through UMCOR’s 100-Ton Challenge (www.umcorcoffee.org ) currently underway. This 12-month campaign that began on World Fair Trade Sunday on May 10, 2008, encourages United Methodists to support purchase of fair trade products from Equal Exchange through the UMCOR Coffee Project partnership. We hope that United Methodists will seize this opportunity and order chocolate and bags today and put their faith into action.