Fall is for Fair Trade

Here in the Midwest of the United States, we are witnessing the dramatic transition of seasons, with leaves turning colors and cooler temperatures. October means the arrival of Fall, but it is also Fair Trade Month. It is an appropriate time for us to espouse the benefits of fair trade shopping, but there are compelling reasons to permanently change your shopping habits by choosing fair trade items when they are available. Simply put, buying fair trade helps to ensure that workers are receiving fair wages, are employed in safe and humane working conditions, and are not being exploited. Companies have been taking steps to improve their supply chains (possibly due to transparency regulations, consumer demand, and/or good corporate citizenship), but many popular products continue to be plagued by slave or child labor in their supply chains. As consumer become more socially conscious, there are numerous resources available about fair trade products. In this article, we want to share a few of our favorite resources and fair trade companies.

A good starting point for a consumer looking to include more fair trade goods in their life is SlaveryFootprint.org. After spending a few minutes taking a survey, you will find out how many slaves work for you (based on your current lifestyle.) Although it’s not terribly comprehensive (that would require an exhaustive inventory of your purchases), it does provide a sobering look at the problem of modern day slavery and how your everyday purchases are connected.

Consumer goods, such as coffee and chocolate, both of which were notorious for slave labor at the bottom of the supply chain, are becoming more likely to have fair trade options. This article by UNICEF provides an additional explanation of fair trade, and includes the fair trade associations that certify products. So when you are in the grocery store, look for one of the association logos on the product packaging and you’ll know that your purchase is helping to combat human trafficking.

Deciding to change your shopping habits to be a better global citizen and social justice advocate is the first step. Admittedly, when you start finding out that some of your favorite products don’t have the best supply chains, it becomes more difficult to make those adjustments. It’s a process and a journey. Start small and try out some fair trade products, without trying to completely overhaul everything you purchase. We will leave you with a few of our favorite fair trade companies.

Freeset – this social enterprise based in India employs sex trafficking survivors in Kolkata. Products include tees, bags, and scarves. We buy our race shirts from Freeset.

Serrv – here you can shop for apparel, home goods and decor, and food items from artisans and farmers in 25 countries.

Ten Thousand Villages – much like Serrv, they carry a wide range of different fair trade goods.

MadeFair – an online retailer of ethical, sustainable and Certified Fair Trade apparel. Our new ambassador, Annabelle, will soon feature some of their items.

Citizen and Darling – an ethical clothing brand that fights human trafficking. We love their Freedom Fighter tees!

And finally, located right in our hometown of Troy, Ohio, Pachamama Market carries a variety of fair trade items, such as home decor, jewelry, clothing, and coffee and chocolate. If you’re in the Troy or Dayton vicinity, make sure you visit them!

Hopefully this post is informative, and will help you get on the path to becoming a socially conscious consumer, not just in October, but year round.

 

Shout Out to Our Sponsors

In the days leading up to our New Year’s Day 5k in Troy, we highlighted several of our sponsors (LexisNexis, Concrete Sealants and Up and Running). We would be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to highlight the remainder of our sponsors.

Troy First United Methodist Church

In 8 out of the 9 years that the World Race for Hope has been in existence, we have been able to use the First Place Christian Center as the home base. The multi-purpose Great Room is a perfect location for post-race awards, and the two video screens allow for viewing of the live video stream of the start/finish.

Sroufe’s Painting Service

Sroufe’s Painting offers over 10 years of experience to meet all of your commercial and residential painting needs.

Holly Lynn Photography

Holly has been shooting weddings and portrait sessions in the Dayton area since 2012. She was our race photographer for our 2015 race, and has photographed other events for charitable causes.

Take 2 Productions

Take 2 provides video services for local sports teams, and also does weddings, photo restoration and DVD transfers. They provided the live stream of our start and finish line at our 2016 race.

Ghostlight Coffee

Ghostlight is located in the historic South Park district on Wayne Ave. in Dayton. In addition to being a neighborhood coffee house, they are a venue for music, poetry and spoken word, and they also provide space for local artists to display their works.

If you know of a business interested in sponsoring our 2017 race in Troy, or the upcoming race in Columbus, you can email us at wr4h(at)troyfumc.org.

Fighting Trafficking in the Dayton Area

On the eve before our 9th annual 5k in Troy, we take a look at two Dayton-area organizations who benefit from our race. The first organization is Oasis House. This nonprofit was founded in 2004 through Higher Ground United Methodist Church as an outreach ministry for the adult entertainment club workers on the Dixie strip in Dayton. The services provided by Oasis House have grown over the years to include, in addition to the weekly outreach, counseling, GED tutoring, computer training, and the YES mentoring program, which provides healing, restoration and deliverance for women using a faith-based approach. In an effort to address the lack of safe, long-term shelter beds, Oasis opened their first residential housing facility in Dayton, with plans to open more.

The other charity partner for the World Race for Hope Troy is Abolition Ohio. AO is the Miami Valley’s Rescue & Restore Coalition, comprising over 60 partner agencies and organizations in Montgomery, Clark, Greene, Preble, Darke, and Miami Counties. The purpose of coalitions is to keep all interested parties involved, coordinated and aware of the various anti-trafficking initiatives occurring in the service area. Abolition Ohio maintains a victim services matrix (to assist service providers and law enforcement personnel working with victims of sex and labor trafficking in the Miami Valley), offers a speakers bureau and provides resources to help local organizations and agencies fight human trafficking.

Free To Run is proud to partner with these two organizations in the fight against trafficking in the Greater Dayton region.

Sponsor Spotlight – LexisNexis

Day 5 of our 12 Days of Freedom, and today we feature our sponsor LexisNexis. No, it’s not the car/hair care company. LexisNexis is a global provider of information and workflow solutions to a number of industries in the public and private sectors. Currently a division of RELX Group, LEXIS originally started as the first online full-text legal research program in 1970. In 1980, the NEXIS news service was launched, leading to a re-branding of the then Mead Data Central to LEXIS-NEXIS. The company was headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, and although the corporate headquarters are no longer there, it is still the largest single site for a RELX location. See the Wikipedia entry for LexisNexis for more on the history of the company. Read more of this post

Sponsor Spotlight – Concrete Sealants

On the third day of our 12 Days of Freedom posts, we recognize and thank another one of our longtime sponsors, Concrete Sealants. The Tipp City based company, founded in 1970, offers dozens of products and applications to meet the needs of their concrete sealant customers around the world. They have played a part in many noteworthy construction projects around the world, from the I-75 Modernization Project, to a project a O’Hare Airport, to a wastewater treatment project in Egypt. Conseal is ISO 9001 certified, and they are investing for the future by focusing on sustainability. Read more of this post

Sponsor Spotlight – Up and Running

On the second day of our 12 Days of Freedom series of blog posts, we are featuring one of our New Year’s Day race sponsors, Up and Running. The locally-owned running store celebrated 10 years for their Dayton store, and recently marked 4 years at its Troy location on 12 S. Market St in the downtown shopping district. And to top it off, they were voted as one of the top 50 running stores in the country for 2015, an achievement earned by only 3 stores in Ohio. Read more of this post

Kicking Off 12 Days of Freedom

The 25th of December is the first day of the 12 days of Christmas, the start of which coincides with the birth of Jesus Christ, and ends with the arrival of the Three Kings (Epiphany). As we approach the start of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and our annual World Race for Hope Troy 5k, we will be posting each day through January 6 about some aspect of our programs. There will be spotlight articles about our race sponsors and charity partners, plus we will preview some of our other events planned for 2016.

Today, the focus is on our upcoming 5k in our hometown of Troy, Ohio. It will be the 9th annual race on New Year’s Day, featuring the normal course starting in downtown Troy and going out and back on the bike path by the river. Online registration is available through December 31 at https://runsignup.com/worldraceforhopetroy. You can also register in person at our optional early packet pickup at Up and Running in Troy (12. S. Market St.) from 2-4 pm, or the morning of race at First Place Christian Center (16 W. Franklin St.) starting at 8:30 am. Like last year, the Troy FUMC Youth Group is offering a freewill offering pancake breakfast at First Place after the race, with donations going towards their missions. Overall male and female winners and age group awards will start at approximately 11:15.

On behalf of our Board of Directors, Free To Run Foundation thanks everybody for their support this past year, and we look forward to continuing to educate and raise awareness in our respective communities in the coming year. We wish you peace and joy in this holiday season.