I remember participating in fundraisers when I was younger and how much of an effort it was to talk people into buying the odd containers of cheese and crackers or yet another roll of holiday wrapping paper. Does anyone really want those anyway?
I'm guessing a lot of uneaten cheese and elf-covered paper goes to waste every year as family and neighbors try to do their best at helping to raise money for new uniforms or a class trip. And in the end, what do the children learn? Pretty much just how to sell something, which is okay, but is there really a life lesson?
What would really be great is if more schools, organizations and groups ran fundraisers that not only benefited themselves, but helped show how much of a difference everyday choices can make in the lives of others. Add to that supporting sustainable farming methods and loving our planet and they would need to look no further than to working with Equal Exchange's Fair Trade Fundraiser Program.
Based in Massachusetts, Equal Exchange is a worker-owned co-op that was founded with the idea of food being traded in a way that is honest and fair and empowers both farmers and consumers. Offering products such as organic and sustainably grown coffees, teas, chocolates, cocoas, nuts, berries and more from around the world, Equal Exchange only partners with small farmer organizations that are owned and governed by the farmers themselves.
As well as keeping those rural communities healthy and strong, Equal Exchange is able to then share only the best products that come from their partners' harvests. And boy, oh boy, are they tasty.
So how can we help? The next time another fundraiser discussion rolls around, Equal Exchange has a program that works on multiple levels. Schools and community groups make a profit selling the amazing organic and fairly traded foods and handmade tree-free gift wrap from Equal Exchange and beautiful gifts for the home from Ten Thousand Villages. At the same time, small organic farmers and artisans from around the globe are being supported and the students participating in the sales learn about the values of social and environmental responsibility and global citizenship.
Equal Exchange even offers a multi-unit full curriculum of classroom activities (for grades 4 - 9) to help teach children and raise their awareness of the core issues surrounding food production and trade. I've spent a lot of time in the classroom (my education degree certifies me to teach grades 1 - 9) and I think the idea of teachers being able to incorporate Equal Exchange's free educational materials in with the fundraiser would be a wonderful opportunity to tie in the connection of sustainability and the importance of Equal Exchange's efforts and not just the selling and profit aspects of the fundraiser.
However, when it comes to the actual selling, I have to admit that it might be difficult to not purchase too many of these amazing products to keep once you have tried them for yourself. We sampled Equal Exchange's Organic and Fairly Traded Hot Cocoa Mix and mmmmm, it is tasty. The rich chocolatey flavor is smooth and delicious and it goes perfectly with a bite or two of dark chocolate.
Normally a milk chocolate fan, I was surprised at how much I loved the dark chocolates from Equal Exchange. The Organic Very Dark Chocolate bar is 71% Cacao, so you definitely just need a small amount but I still found it delectable and satisfying. The Dark Chocolate Minis, on the other hand, are melt-in-your mouth sweet, creamy and amazing. If a student shows up at your door selling these as part of a fundraiser, you have definitely got to try them.
To find out more about Equal Exchange's fundraising program, you can easily request a free informational packet including pricing and profit margin, a sample catalog and steps for getting started. Instead of trying to talk people into another popcorn tin or frozen pizza, suggest Equal Exchange to your child's school or group and help make a difference in lives at home and all over the world. Also, thanks to their generosity, Equal Exchange wants to let one person experience their incredible chocolates as well, so...
One lucky person will win a case of Equal Exchange Organic & Fairly Traded Dark Chocolate Minis! ARV $35!
To enter to win: Visit Equal Exchange's Fair Trade Fundraiser Program and tell me something that you learned about the program or which of their products you would like to try.
Extra Entries (available after the mandatory entry above is completed; please leave a separate comment for each entry in order for them to be counted).
1 Extra Entry (per method) if you sign up for the Equal Exchange e-newsletter, follow them on Twitter and/or Like them on Facebook. And 1 more Extra Entry if you leave the following message on their wall: I just found out about the great Equal Exchange Fundraiser Program on Thanks, Mail Carrier and entered to win a case of dark chocolate minis! Yum! http://bit.ly/c06dOs
1 Extra Entry (per giveaway entered) - Enter any (or all) of the giveaways running on Thanks, Mail Carrier for the duration of this giveaway.
1 Extra Entry if you follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway by copying and pasting the tweet below and leaving me the link. Tweet daily for an extra entry every day!
Mmmm, CHOCOLATE! I want to WIN a case of delicious organic chocolate minis ($35) from @thxmailcarrier! http://bit.ly/c06dOs #win #giveaway
2 Extra Entries (per follow method) if you follow me with Google Friend Connect, subscribe to my RSS feed, subscribe to Thanks, Mail Carrier by email or Like me on Facebook.
3 Extra Entries if you put my cute button up on your blog. Please leave an address where it can be found.
3 Extra Entries if you blog about this giveaway linking back to Thanks, Mail Carrier and Equal Exchange's Fair Trade Fundraiser Program. Please leave an address where it can be found.
Giveaway will end on June 24th at 11:59pm CST. Do me the favor of leaving an email address or making absolutely sure it is visible in your profile, I have to have a way to contact the winner. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
A big thank you to Equal Exchange for providing chocolates and hot cocoa for me to review as well as a case of dark chocolate minis for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.