On the Road with the Interfaith Team

Susan and Bethany

This summer, the Equal Exchange interfaith team traveled around the country to events celebrating our faith-based partnerships. We were excited to meet and talk with so many of our supporters and hear about the work that they are doing in their communities. Meet some of our extended Equal Exchange family and read their stories below!

Wherever Marion Bell travels, including to the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in New Orleans, she brings the following with her in a special bag: Equal Exchange French Roast coffee freshly ground the night before she leaves, a pourover brewer and filters, a small electric water kettle, and a porcelain coffee mug. She wants to drink socially-just coffee wherever she goes and clearly takes it seriously!

Rev. Tim Bobbitt of First Christian Church in Alexandria, VA shared this great photo with us at the Disciples of Christ General Assembly in Indianapolis, Indiana. For Father’s Day, his two sons knew exactly what he wanted and gifted him bulk bags of Equal Exchange coffee beans.

At the Disciples of Christ General Assembly, Rev. Robert Bushey of Central Christian Church in Bourbonnais, IL shared photos of his incredible Fair Trade parade float with giant Equal Exchange chocolate bars! They sell Equal Exchange products at their local farmer’s market to encourage folks to support small farmers globally, too.

In Minneapolis, MN at the Women of the ELCA Triennial, Alice Carlson from Advent ELCA in Middleboro, MA told us that our baking cocoa is the best she’s ever tried!


“How does it go from cacao to cocoa?”
Darlene Brewer & Justin Schwartz of Wyndholme Christian Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia loved our dried cacao pod and shared an impromptu song and dance with us at the Week of Compassion booth at the Disciples of Christ General Assembly.

Ariel Aaronson-Eves and Rev. Sam Teitel ran into each other at the UU General Assembly in New Orleans after not seeing one another for years. They posed in front of the Equal Exchange booth for old time’s sake.

Ariel and Sam were two of the first wave of baristas who worked at the Equal Exchange cafe in Boston 9 years ago!

Rev. David Hutchinson (in a vintage Equal Exchange tee shirt) is the pastor at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Houlton, ME.

They’ve served Equal Exchange coffee at the church’s “Cup Cafe” for six years. It’s also a fizz bar with italian sodas and a music venue. Visit them off of the last Maine exit on I-95N to stop by their cafe or stay at their Airbnb!

Mr. Equal Exchange, Peter Buck, shared a table with Rachel Brink of Foods Resource Bank at the Church of the Brethren Conference in Grand Rapids, MI.

In New Orleans at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, we met John Adrian from United Church in Staten Island, NY. John told us that he never liked dark chocolate until he had an Equal Exchange bar! Equal Exchange: converting milk chocolate lovers since 2001.

We visited Jenni Heimach at Irvington Presbyterian Church, one of our top church customers in Indiana and saw her in action selling and sampling Equal Exchange products after services. Profits from their weekly sales pay for their Fair Trade, organic coffee hour.

We hosted an Equal Exchange coffee tasting at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church right in our own backyard in Boston.

We’re always happy to help fuel conference-goers! Nathalie Bigord of UU Congregation of Gwinnett said that munching on our wholesome Fruit and Nut Bars helped her survive the 6 day long Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in New Orleans.

Chocolate lovers unite! At the Women of the ELCA Triennial we met long-time Fair Trade chocolate fans Karen Edwards and Kathleen Sumrall of Trinity Church in Sparta, WI and Gretchen Jensen of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in LaCrosse, WI.

Meet Jann McIsinr and Dawn Hassle of Milwaukee Lutheran Church, pictured at the Women of the ELCA Triennial in MN. Jann told us, “The coffee that you served at the New Attendees Breakfast was the best coffee that I’ve had the whole time here.” Thank you, Jann, we love hearing that!

To all of our partners and supporters, we thank you for the work that you do in your congregations and communities to promote economic justice for small scale farmers. We loved getting to know you better and hope to see you soon!



  1. Tehmina Khan | 24th Aug 17

    How is this interfaith when all of the organizations profiled are Christian?

    • Bethany Karbowski | 24th Aug 17

      Hi Tehmina,

      Thanks for reading our post and taking the time to comment. I’m part of Equal Exchange’s Interfaith team and I wanted to clarify a bit.

      Our team’s focus is helping people of all faiths get access to affordable, organic, fairly traded products for themselves and their communities.

      Many of the events we attended this summer were with our Christian based partnerships, but some were not, like the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly. Some of our partner groups of other faiths do not meet in the summer, or every year, so we did not feature them in this particular post. Later this year we will be attending an event celebrating our Jewish Fair Trade Project at the Union for Reform Judaism. Here’s a list of our faith based partnerships. http://equalexchange.coop/our-partners/interfaith-partners

      Equal Exchange workers and our farmer partners are made up of people of many different faiths. We invite people of all faiths to participate in our community programs even if they are not part of one of the partnerships. The formal types of partnerships we have come about where the relief and development organization affiliated with a particular denomination has wanted to establish a connection where they promote our products to their constituents who want to serve or sell ethically traded products and Equal Exchange makes a donation, per pound of products purchased by members, to that group’s projects in the areas of human rights or sustainable agriculture. We are open to having new partnerships as well. In past years we have had fair trade partnerships with Islamic Relief USA, and American Jewish World Service, though these groups have ended the partnerships to focus on other areas of work.

      Thank you for being a supporter of small scale farmers across the globe.


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