“Gifts that Give Twice” holiday sale aims to increase awareness of fair trade

December 10th, 2015


“Gifts that Give Twice” is a holiday sale featuring fair trade products, held by Campus Ministry, Students for Social Justice’s Fair Trade Committee, and the Center for Service and Social Action. The sale begins on Wednesday, Dec. 9 and goes until Thursday, Dec. 10 in the O’Malley Center atrium at John Carroll University.


“Gifts that Give Twice” sells products provided by the Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade “Work of Human Hands” line. Farmers and artisans in over 30 countries, including places such as Ghana and India, make these products.


This year, JCU Fair Trade surveyed students to determine what products they would like to see at the holiday sale. Based on student responses, the sale will consist of scarves, coffee, tea, chocolate, home décor and Christmas decorations. There will be hot chocolate samples available and holiday music will be playing during the sale.


In previous years, “Gifts that Give Twice” was a smaller event. It was held before Thanksgiving rather than before Christmas, and there was one table set up outside of the CSSA office. CSSA has tried to increase sales and spread awareness of fair trade by making this a larger event.


Junior Kaylee Quanbeck, member of the Fair Trade Committee, said she strongly believes that JCU has a duty to help people who are not fairly paid for their work, as John Carroll is a fair trade certified university as of 2014.


Quanbeck said, “We’re a fair trade certified university now and we’re a Jesuit university so it’s important for our values to make sure everyone knows what that is and how they can make a change based on their consumption.”


Without fair trade rules, producers can be exploited. When a producer wants to sell a product, they usually sell it to a middleman. The middleman then sells it to a larger corporation and decides how much money to keep for himself and how much to give the producer. Fair trade rules cut out the middleman so the goods can go directly from the producer to the business.


Quanbeck explains, “They all make a living wage because of this. We make sure that the money gets back to the people who deserve the money.” Some of the money goes to the producers and it also helps fund community development projects, children’s education, and other helpful programs.


Junior Sabrina Luce helped plan the “Gifts that Give Twice” sale. She believes that it is important to educate the JCU community about fair trade. “People don’t really know when they purchase something where it came from.” Luce continued, “So it’s very important for the John Carroll students to understand and bring awareness to it.”


Unfortunately, fair trade is not common at large businesses and malls such as Target and Beachwood Place. Small family- owned stores are more likely to carry fair trade products. One such store is Ten Thousand Villages on Cedar Rd. in Cleveland Heights. Some grocery stores also sell fair trade products.


With help from John Carroll faculty, staff and students, the Fair Trade Committee is able to improve the working conditions of people all around the world.


Luce said, “We’re hopeful that our event will be more successful than years passed. We spent a lot of time figuring out how to reach students and faculty.” Luce continued, “It’s completely different than what we’ve been doing in the past.”