Maker to Market Mission Returns to Nacogdoches
(NACOGDOCHES, TX) – Fair trade connects the gifts we give with the lives of the people who made them. A basket links the owner to a collaborative of more than 4,000 rural women in Bangladesh meaningfully employed regardless of caste, creed and race. A pair of earrings draws attention to hundreds of peasant groups in Ecuador working to remain on family land and preserve indigenous traditions. A cup of coffee provides support to make sustainable farming methods viable for growers in Nicaragua. An ornament makes community development activities possible in Vietnam, contributing to clean water projects, vocational training and teacher wage subsidies.
Nacogdoches shoppers have an opportunity to extend the Ten Thousand Villages network and help fund food, education, health care and housing for tens of thousands of individuals in developing countries around the world. A handpicked collection of soaps, scarves, jewelry, home décor, accessories and foods made in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and East Texas are available for sale during Westminster Presbyterian Church’s Fair Trade International Market, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fri., Nov. 16, and 9 a.m. to noon, Sat., Nov. 17.
"I love the unique products and it’s a bonus knowing that it’s helping someone’s life,” said Westminster member Betsy Tucker.
Westminster member and sale organizer Terri Moehring enjoys seeing people return from in town and out of town for this annual event which raised more than $7,000 for fair trade mission and $3,000 for local mission in 2017. She works with volunteers from Ten Thousand Villages to curate the items, making sure each year includes something new and different. Ten Thousand Villages Regional Manager Joanie Cooksey will be on site during the 2018 market to share artisan stories and bring the often requested option of credit/debit card transactions for shoppers.
Ten Thousand Villages CEO Carl Lundblad is inspired by the connection the organization makes with partners. “It’s a way of addressing poverty using commercial markets rather than charity. We are paying a fair value for products produced at a fair wage to help ensure people have fair living conditions.”
The 2018 Fair Trade Market features fair trade chocolates from Equal Exchange. Bars of Dark Chocolate Lemon Ginger with Black Pepper, Dark Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate Mint Crunch are made using cacao sourced from small-scale farmer co-ops in Peru and the Dominican Republic. Sugar for the treats is grown by small-scale farmer co-ops in Paraguay, and the vanilla is fairly trade through a farmer co-op in Madagascar. Spicy hot cocoa, coffee, and olive oil will also be available and a portion of proceeds from the sale of these products is donated to music and mission trips for Nacogdoches youth.
“We meet people from all over town who come to share the treasures from all over the world,” said member/volunteer Myra McNellie.
The 2018 Fair Trade International Market includes items made by members of Westminster Presbyterian Church. Pastor Steve Newton enlists his wife Sally to paint handmade boxes, checkerboards and other woodcrafts. Upcycled gift tags, homemade pickles, and quilted gifts will also be found among the international treasures. Sales of these items will benefit local, regional and global mission work of the church, including Community RX, Love In The Name of Christ, Nacogdoches County United Way, Women's Shelter of East Texas, Nacogdoches H.O.P.E., Christian Women's & Men's Job Corps and the Nacogdoches Senior Center.
Westminster Presbyterian Church is a designated Texas Historic Landmark that traces its roots to the first Protestant minister to be ordained on Texas soil. This year marks Westminster’s 125th year of worship and service in Nacogdoches, Texas.