Abel Fernandez at St. Mary of the Angels

For over ten years, the Catholic parish of St. Mary of the Angels in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, has been a constant and significant supporter of Equal Exchange and the farmers we represent. St. Mary’s serves Equal Exchange coffee at fellowship after Mass and re-sells thousands of dollars’ worth of coffee, chocolate and other products at quarterly table sales.

A significant number of parishioners at St. Mary’s are originally from the Dominican Republic, where Equal Exchange has a close and longstanding relationship with CONACADO, the National Confederation of Dominican Cacao Producers. CONACADO has supplied us with cacao for our chocolate bars for 13 years.   A coincidence a few years ago illustrated the importance of the Dominican connection. When an Equal Exchange staffer was at St. Mary’s presenting some Power Point slides of farmer-members of CONACADO, one of the parishioners in the audience pointed to a slide and cried out “That’s my cousin!”

 

A smiling man crouches beneath a tree heavy with cacao pods.
Vlademir of CONACADO poses with cacao pods in the Dominican Republic.

 

On a recent Sunday after Mass, Abel Fernandez, one of the founders of CONACADO, spoke at St. Mary’s, to a mostly Dominican audience. He related the history of his cooperative, from its beginning in 1985 with 700 members and and growth  to its current size of over 10,000; and its effect on the Dominican cacao industry. Before CONACADO, he said, Dominican cacao was of low quality, and mostly sold for a below-market price to candy companies in the United States. The industry was controlled by a few processors who set the “take-it-or-leave-it” price.

CONACADO changed the industry in the Dominican Republic in many ways. They:

  • introduced new processing methods that greatly increased the quality of the exported cacao;
  • found premium buyers in Europe who would pay better prices;
  • connected with Fair Trade buyers, who add a social premium to the price they pay, for use in community development projects;
  • introduced extension services that brought their farmer-members better cultivation practices;
  • and connected with sources of affordable credit for their members, ultimately starting their own savings and loan.

The cooperative offers farmers an alternative to the oligopoly of fat-cat processors. Currently, about a quarter of the Dominican Republic’s small cacao farmers are members of CONACADO.

 

A man, Abel Fernandez, talks to two women about fair trade cacao. A chocolate fountain sits in the foreground.
Abel Fernandez of Conacado talks to Yania Peralta, an EE worker-owner, and others.

 

Abel’s presentation was accompanied by chocolate croissants and a chocolate fountain, both made with Equal Exchange chocolate. The fountain also used Equal Exchange organic and fairly traded bananas for dipping—it was a big hit with the children.

Introduce Us to Your Fundraising Team

Picture is of a ACOPAGRO Co-op cacao farmer in Peru smiling and holding a cacao pod.
Cacao farmer Marta Zatalaya, a member of the ACOPAGRO Coop in Peru says, “Thanks!”

You’ve started something special — let’s continue doing great things together!

By partnering with Equal Exchange’s fundraising programs last year, you not only raised money for the organization you care so much about, but you also supported small, organic farmer co-operatives around the world.

For this, we thank you!

It’s not always possible for you to continue volunteering at your beloved school or serving your non-profit in the same capacity forever. With over two decades in the nonprofit world, I personally understand how quickly information can fall off the radar. People rotate in and out. Projects get handed-off. Email addresses change. With this kind of disconnect, it’s no wonder so much time gets wasted as people re-create the wheel time and again. Your goal is to raise money for your group. When there’s a lot of turnover, that goal suffers.

To continue the amazing work you’ve started, we ask you to help keep us in touch with your team. Just invite members of your group to join the Equal Exchange Fundraising community!

With just two steps, it’s so easy!

  1. Copy this web link: http://equalexchange.coop/ee-and-you/fundraising
  2. Paste it into an email and send to the relevant people at your organization asking them to fill out the form.

After they fill out the form, we’ll include them in on our special fundraising e-news group. You’ll be giving the new fundraising coordinator a head start by telling them what worked for you! We’ll let them know when Equal Exchange’s new catalog comes out, remind them when sign-ups begin and offer helpful tips on how to raise more money. We only send e-newsletters about once a month. Receiving our news will help them continue the great work you started! (To learn about Equal Exchange’s privacy policy, click here.)

No time? No worries. Just copy and paste the letter below and send off to your committee. Feel free to customize to suit your needs!

Hi,

We loved raising money with Equal Exchange’s programs offering their organic, fairly traded and delicious products!

They send out e-news occasionally about fundraising to help organizations like ours raise more. I recommend you stay informed about their programs so we can continue our partnership. To get in the loop, visit this link http://equalexchange.coop/ee-and-you/fundraising and fill out the form.

Thanks!

Image of children holding chalk board that says, "Thank you for supporting us!"We look forward to remaining a special and meaningful part of your community so we can continue doing great things together!

A big thanks from all of us at Equal Exchange and our small farmer partners!

#eeoutdoors: Enter to win fairly traded prizes!

Take us outside with you!

Post a picture of yourself in the Great Outdoors with your favorite Equal Exchange beverage or snack and tag it #eeoutdoors — you could win one of four prize packs worth $50 each!

We think a strong connection to nature is healthy! That’s why we source our coffee, tea, chocolate and other products from people who farm using sustainable practices. What do YOU do to show your appreciation for the world outside four walls?

A picture speaks a thousand words. Whether your backyard is a desert or a rainforest, whether you like to kayak or prefer croquet — we want to see it! This summer, share your epic adventures with EE by entering our Instagram contest!

.

#eeoutdoors

Here’s how to win. First, follow @equalexchange. Then post to Instagram by 8/31/18, using #eeoutdoors! Entries must depict you doing an outdoor activity that you love, with an EE product in the shot.

We’ll award prizes to the two posts with the most likes. And our editors will pick our favorites and award prizes to them, too. That’s FOUR chances to win! Check out #eeoutdoors on Instagram to see the posts!

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Helpful guidelines:

  • Let us see your faces! We love pictures of friends and of all kinds of families.
  • Get creative. You don’t necessarily need a majestic background to win — show off your love of nature in an imaginative way

 

 


The fineprint:

Equal Exchange is the administrator of this promotion. It is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram.

We must receive your entry by 11:59 PM EST on 8/31/18. By entering, you affirm that you are 18 or over and a US resident. EE employees are not eligible to win.

Photos must have been shot outdoors and must contain an EE product to be considered. Entries must tag @equalexchange and use the contest hashtag. EE reserves the right to disqualify any entry deemed offensive, inappropriate or otherwise unsuitable.

Two winning entries that adhere to the rules will be chosen based on likes. An impartial jury of EE staff members will choose two additional entries that adhere to the rules. We’ll contact winners by direct message on Instagram. Winners will have one week to claim their prizes by providing a US mailing address (not a PO box). We’ll ship prizes via UPS Ground.

We’ll announce the winners by 9/10/18.

Great Outdoors

At Equal Exchange, we work hard to bring you organic, sustainable and fairly traded coffee, tea and chocolate. What do we do when we’re not doing that? Let us show you!

EE worker-owners from every region of the US sent in pictures of ourselves, our friends and our family members (and our dogs!) spending time in the Great Outdoors. For some of us, that means a long hike or an ambitious workout. Others would rather dig in our gardens, relax by the shores of an inviting lake, or hunt for bugs in the backyard.

A photo collage of people in the great outdoors sitting in a tree, enjoying a park, hiking with a dog, and sipping sustainablee coffee

Share a pic that captures YOUR epic nature adventures and love of fair trade on Instagram. We’re giving out prizes! Read the contest post for details.

As our co-op has grown, we’ve become a far-flung group of people who work out of offices all over the country. You’ll notice different kinds of scenery in the background of these snapshots. But one thing we have in common is that we care about the impact our business has on the natural world. We want to make sure Equal Exchange is environmentally responsible. We strive to build supply chains that are fair to people and respectful of the earth.

EE supports growing methods that are better for the environment.  Small-scale, diverse farming may not be as efficient as huge, monocrop plantations. But small farms and cooperatives are more sustainable in the long run — economically, socially, and for the natural world that surrounds us.

A photo collage of people in the great outdoors posed by a waterfall, in a swamp, on a mountain hike, and trail running.

Connect to the Great Outdoors

Thanks for doing your part by shopping for organic and fairly traded foods. And thanks for taking the time to explain to your friends, family and coworkers why it matters. Sound ecological practices are everyone’s responsibility.

Not sure what to say? We’ve got you covered with Fair Trade talking points.

When we feel a connection to nature, we’re more likely to make an effort to protect it.   That’s why Equal Exchange worker-owners are all about getting out — wherever we may be — to have an adventure.  We hope to see you there!

 


Photo credits:

Collage 1 clockwise, from top left: Ashley Krant at Badlands National Park in South Dakota; Liza in Vermont (photo by Megan Chisholm); a friendly snail (photo by Jill Taylor); Marlon Cifuentes in Providence, Rhode Island; Laura Bechard with Apuka the dog in New Hampshire (photo by Erika Szonntag)

Collage 2 clockwise, from top left: Jeff Purser at Songo Pond in Maine; Cutch the dog at Mount Hood in Oregon (photo by Stephanee DiMaggio); Marcus Jones in Oregon (photo by Stephanie O’Rourke); Andrew, Alison, Vinnie and Louie Booth-Gribas at Ballard Locks in Washington (photo by Vera Pash); Zumwalt Prairie in Oregon (photo by Katie Sharpe).

Collage 3 clockwise, from top left: Evan at Diana’s Baths in New Hampshire (photo by Jill Taylor); an EE cup in Michigan (photo by Ravdeep Jaidka); Dave Tybor, Rachel Tybor and Lucas Fowler at Kelly Park in Florida; Shawn Seebach at Dog Mountain in Washington; Ned the dog with Emily Nink, Hannah Bassett and Meghan Bodo in New Hampshire (photo by Ian MacLellan).

From Trade to Action

By Frankie Pondolph and Danielle Robidoux, Action Forum Organizers

Since the creation of Equal Exchange 32 years ago, people and relationships have always been at our center. Coffee, chocolate, tea, mangoes, cashews; these are the mediums which allow us to show the world that ethical supply chains are viable and that there is more than one way to do business. Radicalism lies within the Equal Exchange model: a supply chain that is characteristic of true democracy, cooperative learning, transparency, and respect for our planet and its people.

We at Equal Exchange have supported our producer partners abroad and have stood alongside them in their struggles to build a more sustainable trade system. We have intentionally committed time and resources to strengthening our internal democracy as a worker co-op.  As we reflect on the organization and the model we have built; and the complexities that now define our world; we have come to realize that there is a missing piece: you. This insight led us to create the Equal Exchange Action Forum.

In an attempt to build a democratic food system which is truly transformative, it is not enough to focus on the buying and selling of a product; likewise, for true change to occur, involvement can not begin and end with a purchase. Voting with your dollar is not enough. Democracy takes effort, commitment, collective responsibility, and passion. It is not always easy; is definitely not straightforward; but it is necessary, if we want to create a better world.

The Action Forum is an initiative through which we invite individuals to participate in our organization; more deeply than ever before. This process has been fluid and malleable. We are trying to find better ways to carry out our work; to be transparent and authentic about our successes, weaknesses, challenges, and visions.  To do this, we hope to build a group of active participants who will do this work alongside us. In short,we want to change our way of doing business. Again.

This past year has been one of learning, connecting, and discovering a shared community and culture within the Action Forum group, now comprised of 4,000 people across the U.S. and abroad. We have gathered in breweries and shared a beer; convened in churches; presented in community spaces; had round-table discussions at food cooperatives; organized potlucks; and even sipped espresso with members at their kitchen tables. Our team has gone from the East Coast to the West, and many places in-between. About 20 face to face meetings and 25 webinars, we are grappling with the complexities of our food system and beginning to formulate innovative solutions, together as a community.  

2017 was our launch year, a year of learning, engaging, experimenting and building a global community. As an Action Forum team, we got to travel to new places, meet amazing people that were really engaged within their communities and shared moments of inspiration and difficult realities facing the future of food, and the need to elevate the stories of it all. From the stark realities of climate change affecting our producers partners, to political strife, and price and market conditions consolidating – we have just started to thread together the alternative systems and creative thinking to combat these challenges, as an Action Forum community. We learned about supply chains, shipping, price, access and through this had moments of joy, laughter and challenging moments of realizing the heaviness and complexity of growing, buying, selling, and consuming food.  

One of the biggest pillars of our work is hosting annual summits- you may remember reading about our first-ever People’s Food Summit hosted last year at Stonehill College and on June 8th of this year we brought together over 100 individuals representing all parts our supply chain: Equal Exchange worker-owners, producer partners, and allies, together with our Action Forum members. As a community, we seek to offer spaces to grapple with many food industry dilemmas and ways we could imagine building a better food system, together.  

We are gearing up for for our second summit of the summer next week on July 7th and 8th in Chicago, held at Loyola University’s Water Tower campus. This summit is bringing together keynote speaker Silvia Roblero Torres, sales and certification manager of CESMACH our coffee cooperative partner in Chiapas, Mexico. Workshops from Professor Phil Howard a professor at the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University and a member of the International panel of experts on Sustainable Food Systems, Pushpika Freitas founder of MarketPlace of India an Alternative Trade Organization founded in the 1980’s working with small farmer textiles and Jeff Heinen a third generation owner of Heinen’s Supermarkets a family grocery store, as well as the directors of Equal Exchange, Rob Everts and founder Rink Dickinson.

Please fill out the short application to stay connected and RSVP to our summit here.

Want to get in touch? Reach out to us at eeactionforum@equalexchange.coop

 

Sweet Tea Perfection

Sweet Tea is the summer drink of choice across the American South. As the days heat up, it’s time to get your tea game on-point!

EE Sales-Rep LeeAnn Harrington is a professionally trained chef. In Texas, where she hails from, folks sip their iced tea without sugar. But during the five years LeeAnn spent in Orlando, FL studying at LeCordon Bleu, she developed a sweet tooth and learned to drink Sweet Tea like a local.

Chef LeeAnn is a perfectionist; when we asked for Sweet Tea tips using fairly-traded teas, she told us she’d have to experiment a bit. She’s been interested in the science of cooking since childhood, when she made her first pudding from scratch, marveling as the ingredients thickened from a watery liquid to a rich, velvety texture.

True to form, Chef LeeAnn tweaked her Southern Sweet Tea recipe until she achieved just the right blend of flavorful and refreshing.

Red and Black Tea
5 from 1 vote
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Southern Sweet Tea recipe

Here are Chef LeeAnn's instructions for black tea, green tea and herbal tea. Try all three versions for peak summer chill!

Course Drinks
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword Tea
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 6-8 bags Equal Exchange black tea
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 16 cups water
  • fresh mint optional
  • sliced citrus optional

Instructions

  1. Combine the granulated sugar with two cups of water in a medium-sized saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring continuously with a large spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.

  2. Over medium heat, bring another saucepan with four cups of room temperature water to 212 degrees F, or just to boiling, (not a rolling boil).

  3. Remove from the heat, and place the 6-8 bags of tea in the saucepan. Cover with a lid and let the bags steep for 4-5 minutes.

  4. Remove the tea bags and let the brewed tea cool to room temperature. Leaving the bags in for much longer than five minutes can result in a bitter taste!

  5. When both mixtures are at room temperature, combine them in a gallon size container and add the remaining 10 cups of water.

  6. Place in the refrigerator for at least eight hours to allow the tea to cool sufficiently.

  7. Once the mixture is prepared and chilled, you can add fresh mint, sliced oranges, or sliced lemons. Serve cold over ice. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Variations on this theme:

Try substituting Equal Exchange Organic Green Tea! Bring the water to boil, then let cool to 170-180 degrees and steep for just 2-3 minutes before removing tea bags and continuing with the recipe as written above. Or use a caffeine-free Organic Herbal Tea from Equal Exchange such as Rooibos, Peppermint, Ginger or Chamomile. Bring the water to boil, 212 degrees F. Immediately add teabags, but steep for longer, 8-10 minutes.

 

 

Crispy Chicken with Almonds — Easy and GF

 

a plate of crispy chicken breaded with organic almonds
5 from 1 vote
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Crispy Chicken with Almond — Easy and GF

Fairly traded and organic almonds give this crispy chicken dish extra texture and a mildly sweet, nutty flavor, complimented by black pepper and paprika. Our Almond Crunch Chicken recipe is just as easy to make gluten-free. Grill it or bake in the oven for a crowd-pleasing summer recipe.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Almonds, Chicken
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken leg quarters with skin
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 stick butter melted
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 cup Panko crumbs or gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 1 cup Organic Natural Almonds blended in a food processor to the consistency of crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F — or plan to fire up the grill!
  2. Beat the egg in a large bowl and whisk in the milk and apple cider vinegar. Add half of the melted butter and the honey.
  3. Mix all the spices, crumbs and almonds in a shallow pan or heavy-duty freezer bag.
  4. One at a time, dredge the chicken pieces in the egg mixture. Then, dip each piece in the crunch mix. Lay the coated chicken pieces in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Pour the remaining butter over the chicken.
  5. If baking, put the dish in the oven for one hour. If grilling, let the chicken rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up the breading, then start up the coals. Place the chicken directly on the grill and cook, covered, until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 F.

Enjoy!

Hungry? Read more picnic recipes!

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Don’t like mayo? Try Za’atar Potato Salad!

Anticipating of the arrival of the Palestinian Farmer’s Box later this summer, we were excited to try this flavorful za’atar potato salad. It’s a zesty alternative to traditional mayo-heavy potato salads, made with za’atar, a savory Middle Eastern spice mix of fragrant thyme, sumac and sesame seeds. We added our special Palestinian Olive Oil to the recipe.

5 from 2 votes
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Za'atar Potato Salad

This easy-to-prepare salad did not disappoint. And it looked positively beautiful before we dove into it! It's perfect for vegans. It’s also dairy- and gluten-free.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Keyword potato, za'atar
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds small red potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup cider or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse mustard
  • 1 cup Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ Tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ Tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon za’atar, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • ½ cup artichoke hearts, quartered
  • ¼ cup scallions, minced

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and cook until just fork tender. Drain potatoes into a colander, allowing the steam to evaporate for 5–10 minutes.
  2. Next, combine the next 7 ingredients into the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Whisk to make an emulsion.
  3. Finally, add potatoes along with the remaining ingredients and stir to blend, coating the potatoes in the vinaigrette. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with za’atar.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from “The Local Palate” recipe by Matt Moore.

A glass bowl of mayo-free potato salad with a bottle of fair trade olive oil and za'atar spices.

 

Hungry? Read more picnic recipes!

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BBQ Spice Rub for Coffee Lovers

Do you enjoy a hot cup of coffee in the morning as much as we do? Do you love red meat? Then you’ll flip for our BBQ Spice Rub recipe.

Close up of two spoons with ingredients for spice rub
0 from 0 votes
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Coffee BBQ Spice Rub

The addition of fresh ground coffee brings out the kick. Rub it on whatever you plan to grill and bring a jolt to your next cookout!
Keyword Chili, Coffee

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons drip-ground Organic coffee
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon dried chili pepper, ground
  • 1 Tablespoon cayenne
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Organic Baking Cocoa

Instructions

  1. Mix all spices together, stirring until well-blended.
  2. Rub generously into your ribs or steak, using one tablespoon of rub per pound of meat.
  3. Let it marinate in the refrigerator overnight before grilling.
  4. Store any remaining spice rub in an air-tight container.
Organic coffee brewed while camping. Coffee is also good in our spice rub.
Organic coffee — it’s not just for drinking!

 

Hungry? Read more picnic recipes!

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By providing Equal Exchange with your email, you’re giving us permission to communicate with you electronically. Read our Privacy Policy for more details.

Successful Fundraising: Plan Early

Successful Fundraising: Dream big. Plan early.

As the school year winds down, it’s time to lock-in your successful fundraising plans with Equal Exchange. By doing so now, you can sit back, sink your toes into the sand, and relax this summer.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin

We’re all aware that budget cuts are hurting schools across the nation. Therefore, your help raising money is needed now more than ever. In order for educators, leaders and parents to properly forecast school budgets, they need to know your plans long before the school year starts. (To assist with planning, use this profit calculator.)

Image of smiling child and parent looking at Equal Exchange's fundraising catalog.

In general, catalog fundraising campaigns are successful because they involve a community. For starters, they can be organized by any one person who cares about the cause. Campaigns are short term, so funds can be raised quickly. Then, many people can participate to help. And, the entire process teaches students very important life skills. These include how to set a goal, work with others, meet a deadline, stay organized, and exchange money for product. All are keys to success!

What makes Equal Exchange’s fundraising catalog extraordinary is that it not only raises money, but it also supports small-scale farmers. It’s a great opportunity to educate about food sourcing, Organic farming and fair trade. This opens minds to global issues to promote a more equitable, sustainable and democratic food system. You can share all the videoslesson plans and tools found on our website to help.

Image of clipboard with early sign up check list for successful fundraising.

Ready to sign-up for your successful fundraising campaign? Click here to get started.

Then, you can get on with your warm and wonderful summer plans!  

 

 

What will you raise money for next year? Here are some ideas!

If you’re not sure where your school needs the most help, it’s best to ask a faculty or staff member. Often funding needs include:

Books, Supplies, Classroom Equipment

Audio / Visual Equipment

Educational Trips (Domestic / International), Local Transportation

Language Programs

Furniture, Improvements to Infrastructure

Laptops, Tablets, Technology

Special Needs Programs

Tuition

Nutritional Programs

Anti-Bullying Educational Programs

Science Departments, Lab Equipment

Sport Programs need Equipment, Uniforms, Score Boards, and Travel

Art, Music and Theater Programs

Scholarship Funds

After -School Programs & Activities

 

Image shows students at a computer as they plan early for successful fundraising.

With over a decade of fundraising success, Equal Exchange’s catalog has helped thousands of schools and community organizations across the US! To help your campaign reach its goal, utilize the resources on our website.  You’re invited to join our Equal Exchange Fundraising Coordinators Group on Facebook to collaborate with other organizers. There, you can find and share fundraising tips, ideas and pictures

If you have questions on how to get started, please email or call 774-776-7366.