Shop with a Cause Event Nov. 20 Aims to Boost Fair Trade

Two North Shore faith communities are encouraging you to shop with a cause this holiday season.

Willow Creek Community Church of Northfield and Congregation Am Shalom of Glencoe are hosting “Shop With a Cause: A Fair Trade Holiday Boutique,” an event designed to promote fair trade-friendly products and businesses across the northern suburbs.

“It’s really about the power of our spending,” says Jodi Mulder of Evanston, a Willow congregant and organizer of the event. “When you go to buy things, it’s like you’re voting with your dollar about what’s important to you.”

Fair trade is a “market-based model of international trade that benefits more than 1 million farmers and farm workers in 58 developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America,” according to Mulder’s personal blog.

The boutique will showcase goods from more than 40 producers in the developing world, Mulder says. Attendants will be able to purchase everything from accessories to gifts for children.

And as they shop, visitors will also be able to enjoy documentary film screenings, an international cooking demonstration and a fair trade café featuring baked goods from Glenview’s Sweet Dreams Organic Bakery, Mulder says.

Mulder says the idea for the event came to her earlier this year, when she and her husband, Chad, took their family on a 12-week sabbatical to East Africa, where they spent time volunteering for a U.S.-based fair trade retailer.

“It came out of us wanting to host an event around the holiday season, when people are obviously buying a lot of gifts,” she says.

And her familiarity with Thanksgiving Coffee, a co-op of Jewish, Christian and Muslim farmers in Northern Uganda, inspired Mulder to take an interfaith approach to the event.

That concept resonated with Ed Alpert, director of Am Shalom.

“This is right up the alley of the kind of things our synagogue likes to support,” Alpert says.

The free event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 315 Waukegan in Northfield.

Want to learn more? Visit the Shop with a Cause website.