Have you ever considered how ethical consumerism such as shopping for Fair Trade products can benefit the least of these? As Matthew 25:40 tells us ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ So how can ethical Fair Trade products help us benefit the poor as Jesus asks of us?
In this Bible verse, Jesus is talking about those with a variety of needs such as being hungry, thirsty, in prison, or impoverished or being sick. When we talk about helping the needy it is easy to see why Fair Trade can help.
First, there are no sweatshops in Fair Trade businesses. Artisans are paid a fair wage for their work so that they are able to help care for their families with medical care when they are sick and provide food when their families are hungry. Fair wages helps them to step out of poverty. Each time you purchase an ethically sourced Fair Trade product you are helping a mother or father take care of their family. You are helping those in need.
Have you ever been one of the least of these that Jesus is talking about? Have you ever been in distress, in need or sick? Has anyone come alongside you to give you a hand, a hug, or an encouraging word. Sometimes that is what is needed - to show others that you care. Through long term relationships, Fair Trade organizations and businesses show the artisans, the producers or growers that they care. They show they care with the extra benefits that are given to artisans and their families such as micro-credit loans, grants to help them with their handcrafts businesses, schooling for new skills to increase their income and so much more.
Fair Trade organizations help the artisans, the producers and growers through relationships that are built on mutual trust and respect. When working with artisans in the long term, organizations help them develop skills in their handcraft businesses, give technical assistance as well as financial help. Giving a helping hand in the many aspects of the artisans lives and businesses is a priority!
Isaiah 25:4 For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall.
You can be a stronghold for the poor through Fair Trade whether you are buying products yourself or encouraging others to help the poor with their Fair Trade purchases.
We all can benefit the least of these through our shopping habits.