Photo credit: Catholic Relief Services / ethicaltrade.crs.org
Work is more than just making a living — it is one way in which we share in the divine power of creativity. “Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development, and personal fulfillment,” writes Pope Francis in Laudato Si (#127–128). It’s part of what makes us human, and good work makes us better people — when we can throw our hearts and minds into it, work becomes a place for creativity, growing in skill and talent, expressing our values, connecting with other people, and giving glory to God.
With that in mind, we take special care to stand with people who are unemployed or lack meaningful work. We share concern for those whose work degrades them or even threatens their safety. As the pope has said, “There is no worse material poverty … than the poverty which prevents people from earning their bread and deprives them of the dignity of work.”
Here’s a small way to nudge the world toward dignified work: use ethical trade projects, like this one from Catholic Relief Services, to purchase high-quality coffee, chocolate, and tea in a way that supports small farmers from vulnerable communities. Purchasing goods from fair-trade organizations puts us in solidarity with small farmers and helps them use their work to feed their families, strengthen their communities, and preserve the environment.
For example, if you rely on coffee to get you to work in the morning, why not buy coffee from a farmer who gets up in the morning in Oaxaca, Mexico, to go to work, just like you? Buy Mama Tierra coffee, organic and fairly traded, and you’ll be doing just that, and supporting Catholic Relief Services, too!