From Cris Fischer, St. Gabriel the Archangel parish in St. Louis, MO
Our JustFaith experience calls us to put our faith in action and, as we know, the possibilities are endless. For a group of us at St. Gabriel the Archangel parish in St. Louis, we found an opportunity to support two programs that help provide living wages – one with a local focus (Bridge Bread Bakery) and the other with an international focus (Fair Trade Products) – and also enhance our donut Sunday experience!!
Bridge Bread Bakery is a local social enterprise that employs people experiencing homelessness. The goal of the program is to help the disadvantaged engage in a financially rewarding effort that enhances self-worth, promotes dignity and enables them to help themselves. Once a month on Donut Sunday, we have a variety of Bridge Bread products available for sale after our masses. All money goes directly to the bakers.
We also wanted to educate our parishioners about the power of our buying experience to support workers around the world and create a more just and equitable economic environment that provides better wages and working conditions for all. With that in mind, we began selling fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate along with the Bridge Bread products. There will eventually be some profits from the Fair Trade sales and that money will go to support the Saint Vincent de Paul society in St. Louis, an organization which provides support for people living in poverty.
This experience has been a wonderful opportunity to expose our parishioners to the challenging situations faced by people both locally and around the world. It is also our hope that it will also expose them to the JustFaith experience and encourage them to be involved in taking some of the classes in St. Louis.