SIDNEY — Two local Catholic parishes will host fair trade sales in the coming weeks.
The Petersburg Parishes
BOTKINS — The Petersburg Parishes will host their sixth annual fair trade sale, Saturday, Nov. 11, and Sunday, Nov. 12, in the basement of Immaculate Conception Church, North Main Street, Botkins.
The hours for the sale are: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is open to the public.
The fair trade sale provides an opportunity to purchase gifts for children and adults made by independent artists, craftspersons, and farmers across the world. Items for sale will include clothing, home decor, baskets, jewelry, musical instruments, toys, Christmas decorations, crosses, and more.
The sale will also feature fair trade chocolate, tea, coffee, soup and spices, with free samples available to those in attendance. Sales organizers are Immaculate Conception parishioner Audrey Gutman and St. Joseph parishioner Dr. Jamie Szelagowski, who are assisted by many volunteers.
Purchases at the fair trade sale support farmers, artisans, and laborers as they seek to build better lives for their families. States a representative from the Petersburg Parishes Social Justice Commission, “The monies from the sale help people in the developing world send their children to school, build wells, and participate in projects that strengthen their communities. We’re proud to be able to help from right here in west-central Ohio.”
The Petersburg Parishes work with Catholic Relief Services and with SERRV, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support worldwide. SERRV collaborates with congregations of many Christian denominations to host fair trade sales.
The Petersburg Parishes of Botkins Immaculate Conception, Fryburg St. John, Rhine St. Lawrence and Wapakoneta St. Joseph are named for the now-vanished Petersburg settlement that was between Wapakoneta and Botkins, from which the parishes emerged in the 19th century. They are served by the Rev. Patrick Sloneker, pastor, and the Rev. Sean Wilson, associate pastor. For information, call 419-738-4924.
Holy Angels Catholic Church
SIDNEY — Holy Angels Outreach Committee will host a Fair Trade and More Christmas Bazaar in the Ross Historical Center, 201 N. Main Ave., Friday, Nov. 17, from 1 to 6 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The products for sale include Christmas ornaments and home decor, handwoven baskets from Africa, scarves from India, jewelry, bird houses, wind chimes, soaps and more from artisans and farmers from more than 50 countries around the world. The artisan or farmer receives just wages from the purchased material, access to health care and the ability to educate children.
Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, will have a display of products. Haitian artists repurpose oil drums to create beautiful wall decor, bowls, crosses and Christmas ornaments. Products also include coffee and vanilla. Linda Thieman, who has led multiple tours of Haiti has said, “Many mothers feel fortunate if they can give their children one good meal every three days. The children sometimes eat mud cakes (literally mud and water) just to put something in their stomachs.” Buying Haitian products will help to support these families.
A new feature of the sale are items created by local artisans, including homemade seasonal pillow cases, table runners, sugar scrub, napkins, stuffed toys, hats, scarves and more.
At the cafe and bake sale, there are baked goods and samples of coffee, tea or soup. Catalogs with items not on display can be perused. Items from the catalogs can be ordered and will arrive before Christmas.
Gift baskets are avalible and include fair trade chocolate, tea, coffee, olive oil, cocoa and soup.
A raffle of a handmade Ohio State blanket/cooler set; Kroger, Hair Company and Ivy Garland gift cards; a custom pencil drawing of the winner’s home by artist Mike Behr; a baby quilt and an alphabet chart with individual felt items for each letter.
Proceeds from the local crafts and bake sales and from the raffle will support the Holy Angels Wrapped in God’s Love ministry, which makes clothing for those in need.
Jeanne Schlagetter, a committee member, said, “ The committee is motivated by our desire to benefit people both in the U.S. and around the world.”
Fair trade is based on a business model different from most. Instead of the people at the top making large profits, the farmers and artisans receive the benefit of their work. The products are sold through consignment sales, so the middle man is eliminated. Decisions are made by farmer and artisan cooperatives which are run democratically. They join together in these groups in order to develop a larger market for their products. There is no slave labor or child labor. Products are developed and grown in an environmentally friendly way. Working conditions are good. Many work from their homes surrounded by their children. Fair trade especially benefits and gives dignity to the women involved.
For information, call 492-4364.