Students from St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School, Altamonte Springs, walked into the Parish Life Center and saw beautiful displays of delicious chocolate and coffee, colorful woven bags, intricate handmade pottery, wooden artifacts, and much more. It was the final step in lessons on the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching. The items were part of Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Fair Trade Market.
CRS brought the Fair Trade Market to St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School and Parish. As a Fair Trade Market sponsor, CRS supports farmers and artisans from many underdeveloped countries so that they may sell their products. In return, the “fair trade” workers are able to improve their standard of living. That is why it’s called a “Fair” Trade.
Before attending the Fair Trade exhibit, middle school students prepared by learning about the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching. Students learned that, when people buy from the market, they are living out two themes of Catholic Social Teaching – the ‘Dignity of Workers’ and ‘Solidarity with the Human Family’.
Even though the children attending the market were only 11-13 years old, they are on their way to becoming conscious consumers by promoting economic justice through trade. As Avery M., a seventh-grader said, “Going to the fair trade market made me realize that handmade items can be so much more beautiful and meaningful than manufactured products.” Learning about fairness and solidarity with the human family was a great way to begin the Advent season.
Austin is a 7th grade student at St. Mary Magdalen School, Altamonte Springs.