One dollar a day & Christmas purchases

Nancy shared two mind blowing facts with me the other day. 1 BILLION people subsist on less than $1 a day.  Second, over $450 BILLION is spent on Christmas each year. How could the second fact mitigate the first?

With Fair Trade.  No we are not talking about some sort of government policy, treaty or trade agreement. Fair Trade is a means of purchasing goods created in developing countries where the primary financial benefit goes to those who create them and not to , distributors, Walmart and other retailers who buy as cheaply as possible from third world sources and keep most of the profits.

Think what might happen if we decided to intentionally do some of our Christmas shopping through Fair Trade outlets.  We would get the things we wish to give and at the same time help the cycle of poverty in the developing world.  This is not charity it is grass roots economic development – of the most sustainable kind. It makes economic, political sense and humanitarian sense.

But where do you find Fair Trade items. In the Pittsford Plaza near Rochester there is the shop One World Goods staffed by volunteers that only sells Fair Trade items and the proceeds go to those who create the goods. There are a number of other sources on the internet such as, and

What a delight that with a little planning our Christmas gift giving can help families and individuals get a better life.

If every churchgoer in the United States made just one Fair Trade purchase this Christmas one MILLION families would be raised out of poverty for a year. And the scriptural song of Mary (Magnificat) would begin to come to pass “he.. has lifted up the lowly; … he has filled the hungry with good things…”


About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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