Friday, September 23, 2005

Food Bank

Earth Friendly Fair Trade Coffee brings in revenue to keep food bank open

When the foodbank at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, in Boulder Colorado, lost critical funding; their volunteers realized that they might have to close their doors. Families depended on this service daily to survive current economic hardships. How would St. Thomas’ concerned parishioners continue to provide this important service to their neighbors?

Refusing to accept defeat, St. Thomas Aquinas’ Connie Starr began to research potential solutions. She found out about Earth Friendly Coffee Company’s efforts in working with other organizations to successfully raise funds for their needs. She contacted Diane Hughes, Founder of EFCC to ask for help.

Diane explained how her program worked to not only raise the funds that St. Tom’s Food Bank needed quickly; but how it would also generate some very exciting benefits in addition.

For instance, the small growers who provided the coffee would be paid at least a Fair Trade price for the coffee. That meant that St. Tom’s would be contributing to a more just world, at the same time that they funded their foodbank. The coffee was Shade Grown; so the Rainforest had not been slashed or burned in order to plant many more coffee trees. The coffee was grown at the highest altitude in volanic soils creating the highest quality cup. The coffee was Chemical Free; so neither the grower nor the consumer would be endangered by harmful chemicals. And, as if that wasn’t enough, EFCC operates under a formal Agreement with Catholic Relief Services and they donate a portion of each sale to Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade Program.
Catholic Relief Services works overseas to provide assistance to low-income coffee farmers. Here in the United States, CRS supports those farmers by promoting fair trade – an alternative system of international trade that is rooted in the principles of human dignity, economic justice and global solidarity.

By ensuring that farmers earn a fair price for their coffee, fair trade helps struggling small-scale farmers put food on the table even as coffee prices reach historic lows. By helping these farmers get access to credit and technical assistance, fair trade helps them to survive in a competitive international market.

The Earth Friendly mission: to find the best Arabica coffee from small farmers worldwide; to pay these growers a price that enables them and their families to prosper; to provide customers with an excellent chemical-free, shade grown coffee; and give organizations a means to raise capital using a product that people need and use every day.

Connie brought this news back to her fellow volunteers. They decided to give this program a “go”. St. Thomas Aquinas found this to be the easiest fundraiser they ever conducted. They earned over $1,000 in about two weeks! In addition, the church immediately created a perpetual income source for its food bank via Earth Friendly Coffee’s internet reorder system. St. Thomas volunteers wouldn’t have to go back out to re-solicit sales. An added bonus—EFCC supplied the church their own custom coffee labels—free. They used this label to tell their supporters where their purchase dollars were going and say “Thank you for your support!” And, ultimately, their parishioner customers liked the coffee so well that Connie’s group now offers it on a monthly basis.

Earth Friendly Coffee specializes in fundraisers and parish social justice initiatives. Call toll free 1-866-807-6089 for more information.