By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Christian Service Ministry began at Our Lady of Victory Parish in 2000 with service in the community and some social justice action.
The ministry grew to include a wider area of service, said Char McGovern. “My daughter had gotten me a paper necklace from Uganda and as I did some research I discovered fair/ethical trade. Our committee decided to pursue holding a festival and offering items.”
The ministry’s committee members consulted with parishes that offer fair trade and also spoke with Kent Ferris, director of the Davenport Diocese’s Social Action Office, and Becke Dawson of SIS International Shop in Davenport, which is a fair trade store. The committee decided to hold an Ethical Trade Fair in 2015, which has become an annual event.
“We offer SERRV (fair trade) items from CRS (Catholic Relief Services), Project Lydia items supporting women and children in Africa, and Juan Ana coffee, which is a direct trade coffee from Guatemala,” McGovern said. Project Lydia was included because her two sisters offer that organization’s fair trade items at St. Ann Parish in Long Grove. She said Project Lydia makes it possible for children to remain in school; families can build brick houses instead of huts, and the people gain pride in having a job and a livelihood.
About a year ago, Christian Service Ministry started selling coffee, tea, chocolate, olive oil, soup kits and spices on Social Sunday, held the third Sunday of the month. “We hold the bigger fair once a year for larger items like baskets, nativity sets, soaps, jewelry, homemade purses, a few more food items, Christmas ornaments, Advent calendars, scarves, gloves and pottery,” McGovern said. “This year particularly Africa is having a very significant drought and all of those artisans and farmers need help; we decided to host another fair.
The Ethical Trade Fair will be held Nov. 18 from 2-6 p.m. and Nov. 19 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Our Lady of Victory’s gathering space. Cash and checks will be accepted.
People’s purchases “create change not only through fair wages, but through empowering women, sending more children to school and protecting the environment,” McGovern said. “We do it because we make a difference for someone who needs our help in Haiti, Peru, Uganda, Mali, Vietnam, Mexico, Chile, Guatemala, and all over the world in countries that are desperate for help.”