Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Work of Human Hands craft sales assist Third World artisans

by Pam Vail, for the Inland Register

(From the April 29, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

Catholic Relief Services invites parishes and schools throughout the diocese to consider sponsoring a “Work of Human Hands” craft sale. There are many new items featured in the spring 2004 catalog for the season’s gift giving – shop for weddings, anniversaries, First Communion and Confirmation and beautiful items for the home and garden.

The Work of Human Hands program supports low-income artisans around the world by promoting just trading relationships. The items at a Work of Human Hands sale are purchased directly from small cooperatives and non-profit organizations that ensure decent working conditions and fair wages for the artisans. Empowerment of local communities, dignity for workers, cultural and environmental sensitivity and support of low-income and disadvantaged artisans and farmers are the principles that guide the project.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency, assists the poor in more than 92 countries. Founded in 1943, CRS works to alleviate suffering, foster peace and justice, and build lasting solutions to poverty. As part of its goal to raise awareness of global issues among U.S. Catholics, CRS formed a partnership with SERRV International, an alternative trade and development agency, to create the Work of Human Hands program.

Since 1995, the program has been introduced in 1,000 parishes around the United States, generating millions of dollars in revenue for small-scale producers from the developing world.

In addition the program has helped to connect U.S. Catholics in a meaningful way with their brothers and sisters around the world by sharing the stories of the artisans who make the crafts.

Consider offering a Work of Human Hands sale for your own parish. Many poor people benefit; parishioners will have the opportunity to participate in a mutually enriching relationship with creative and imaginative craftspeople from diverse cultures throughout the world.

To learn more about Work of Human Hands contact Scott Cooper at Catholic Charities’ Parish Social Ministry Office: 509-358-4273.

In a recent letter, Michael Sheridan, the new Fair Trade Program Officer for Catholic Relief Services, wrote, “Remember – small actions can lead to big results. By simply aligning our principles with our everyday consumer practices, together we can begin to build a better world!” The Easter season is a time of hope and celebration. A Work of Human Hands sale can extend our Easter joy beyond our homes and parishes as we help to build a better world for all.

(Pam Vail is chair of the Spokane Diocese’s advisory committee for Catholic Relief Services.)

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