Scott G: Equal Exchange Advocate Extraordinaire
Sometimes there is a faith-based advocate for Equal Exchange who works outside of the direct church or synagogue environment. This is the case of Scott G. who sells products to assist small farmers out of his office. Scott is a scientist who has worked at a tech company for 35 years and offers Equal Exchange coffee and chocolate to other employees. We interviewed him about his special project.
As a Mennonite, Scott got involved with offering Equal Exchange products because he saw that there were very few ways to get money to poor people in underdeveloped countries. He read about how Catholic Charities was doing good work with cooperatives in Guatemala and turned to Equal Exchange because it worked with small farmer cooperatives. “Most people know that I got into it because of my affiliation with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)” he said. Scott says that he’s in it “for the right reasons.” He’s into the mission of supporting small farmers.
He doesn’t take a cut or make any money. In fact if anything he loses money because he gives away free samples. Colleagues have learned about his ministry through word of mouth. “It’s special because it’s person to person; there’s a relational part to the coffee purchase.” People leave checks for Scott as they help themselves to coffee or chocolate that’s available in his office. He sometimes delivers products to other locations.
One person Scott knows is receiving cancer treatments. “I keep him in chocolate,” he said. Over time, Scott has expanded sales of coffee and chocolate to his community. He sells to a friend who works at a nonprofit for low-income housing. And there’s a woman who supervises a crew which cuts trees and fix lines for Verizon, she brews coffee for the workers which is available in thermoses and bakes for her crew. She buys 30-40 lbs. of coffee at a time. During COVID Scott kept a stack of products at home. He delivers coffee and chocolate to people’s homes. During COVID it’s been important to give things to folks, he says. “People are stressed, ” he said. “I’m glad that it makes people happy.”
He and his wife, Sharon, also bought a couple of cases of the EE organic Palestinian olive oil over the holidays to give as Christmas gifts. Sharon went over to the West Bank several years ago with Christian groups through the Mennonite Church USA. They both love the taste of the olive oil. Scott has really enjoyed sharing EE products with others and spreading the word about the mission. Eventually he will retire, but he’s hoping that someone at work will take it on. We appreciate Scott’s commitment to small farmers. He is truly an Equal Exchange Advocate Extraordinaire.
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This is the story of the Fair Trade Corner at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero…18 February 2021