Halloween is supposed to be scary. Chocolate shouldn’t be.
It is Halloween season again, and soon kids across the country will be going from house to house in search of treats. There will be scary decorations and fun costumes. Some will watch scary movies. Some will go to haunted houses. It is fun to be scared – especially in a safe way.
On Friday night at my church, we will be hosting a Trunk or Treat. It is meant to be a community outreach. Kids have been invited to come and trick or treat in our church parking lot. We have many volunteers that will come to give out candy. There will be games and crafts as well. I’ll be brewing hot chocolate and coffee. We also plan on having brochures to give to parents about our church’s children ministries. We’re hoping that many kids come and have a great time.
I’m pretty sure that not one of those kids will have spent the day working in hot tropical fields, wielding machetes and being exposed to harmful pesticides. I think it’s a safe bet that none of the children getting their chocolate treats were sold into work camps by their parents, desperate to provide for siblings that are starving.
Unfortunately, such an existance is common place in West Africa, where the majority of the world’s exported cocoa beans are grown. Equal Exchange is one group that is making a difference in the world by fighting poverty at its root. By bringing the products of small farms to consumers in the United States, Equal Exchange has been able to empower people to maintain economic stability. Their Interfaith Store is a way for churches and individuals to buy products that they can trust – and feel good about.
We will set up a special table to tell people about Fair Trade chocolate. I’ve bought a bunch of chocolate bars for people to sample. The coffee and hot chocolate is Equal Exchange brand. I bought all the chocolate and coffee and a great little store in Davenport called SIS International Shop. Most big towns (Peoria, Champaign, Bloomington, Davenport, Moline and several in Chicago area) have a shop like the SIS International Shop. It might be too late for this Halloween, but Christmas is coming. Search for a Fair Trade shop in your area. Ten Thousand Villages is another great resource. Here is their store locator, but click on the “listing for all shops in the US” don’t use the locator by Zip Code or State.