Friday, October 30, 2009

Reverse trick or treating family

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Shannon Ward knows that what she buys for her family effects other people.

That's why she and her three kids are participating Reverse Trick or Treating this Halloween.

Seven year old Glynis, 11-year-old Nathan and 13-year-old Thomas will be handing out cards attached to a fair trade piece of chocolate to people in Ward's father's Huntersville neighborhood.

"I noticed that with Sameritain's Purse, the group that sends the shoe boxes, a lot of them go to countries where a lot of chocolate and coffee comes from and I wondered how many of those families are farmers who are getting taken advantage of?" Ward said.

Global Exchange, a global human rights protection agency based out of San Francisco created this program. The organization has been around for over 20 years. 2009 marks the 3rd year of the Reverse Trick-or-Treating program.

This is the first year that the Ward family has had a chance to participate.

"Fair trade is really important to my family and we only buy fair trade chocolate and coffee. There is such an enormous amount of chocolate consumed around this time of year and Valentine's Day that I just wanted to let people know about it. I think if more people knew about what fair trade is and what it means when they don't buy fair trade that it would sway them to make different decisions or at least think about the decisions that they're making."

So, what is fair trade?

It is a social movement to get higher payment to the farmers in developing countries that produce things like coffee, chocolate and sugar to name a few items.

Ward said that she and her family try to expose as many people to fair trade items. Whenever there is a chance to share things at her kids' school, The Community School of Davidson, she makes a handcrafted hot chocolate made with fair trade ingredients to get the conversation rolling.

Where does Ward find fair trade coffee and chocolate. The coffee, she said, is easy.

"You can find fair trade coffee any where. Even Wal-Mart and Food Lion sell it now," she said.

But the chocolate, you have to search for. Here's a hint -- it ain't Hershey's. Ward said stores like Earth Fare and Healthy Home Market have fair trade chocolate.

She also said she buys some fair trade chocolate online at Sweet Earth Organic Chocolate.

Ward said she hopes that more people will start paying attention to fair trade and think about the choices they make.

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