Hi, I’m Lauren and I blog at Great is Your Faithfulness. I’ve been married to my best friend for 8 years and we have 2 little ones. Over the years God has used being a parent to show me his never ending grace and draw me closer to him. I love to tell others how God is moving in my life and encourage Moms!
Last September, I went to the Influence Conference, and I learned a lot of things. Some of those things I am still processing. One of the phrases that stuck in my head was “You don’t have to do everything. But you can do something.” Sometimes it seems overwhelming with so many good charities, organizations, and missions available. How do I choose which one to participate in? In true awesomeness, I usually tend to get overwhelmed and not do anything. But walking away from the conference I felt empowered. I can’t support every good cause that comes my way, but just choose something, and do it. I know. I’m pretty profound.
So anyway, I’d like to share with you a simple way to make a difference. Easter is coming up and soon, and baskets will be filled with chocolate, candy, and little bunnies. But what if buying your kids, grandkids, or students at school candy for their basket, meant that another child was sold to make it? Is that worth it?
|Photo from Food Empowerment Project|
Accurate numbers are hard to come by, but it is estimated that up to 1 million children are working on cocoa farms with poor working conditions. They climb trees to get the pods down, use machetes to break them open, and then spray hazardous chemicals on the plants. They face heat exhaustion, snake and insect bites, long hours, injuries from using the machetes, and the list goes on. They aren’t allowed to attend school while they work, which is in violation of the International Labor Organization (ILO). The ILO also calls the chocolate industry the worst form of child labor today.
|Photo from BBC|
So what can we do?
The answer is simple. Don’t buy this chocolate. And guys, this is hard for me too. The other day I bought 3 candy bars at the check-out. It was buy 2 get 1 free. So of course I did it. Did I have time to see if the companies ethically received their chocolate? Nope. I should have just had the self control to not buy chocolate. It is a luxury not a necessity. But honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about it. Writing this post is to inform you as much as it is to inform me. I’m not saying “All candy is bad. You are an awful human if you buy it!” But I am saying, that we can all make choices ahead of time to choose ethically-sourced chocolate and candy. Here’s a few ways to get started:
Talk to your kids
Tell your kids why their Easter basket will have less candy and why that is a good thing. You don’t have to be graphic with details to teach them. Share how certain candy is made by kids just like them who can’t go to school because they have to work for almost no money and risk getting hurt. Be real.
Tell your parents
I know I’m not the only parent who has grandparents that spoil their kids. My parents love my kids and they really like to show it by buying them stuff. They always makes baskets for them and even though I own my own house, have a degree, and a career…I still get Easter baskets with my favorite candy in it too. But this year, I’m going to share this information with them. I’m going to give them a list of candy that is ethically-sourced and pray they’ll make informed decisions.
|Photo from BBC|
Don’t buy candy from bigger companies
Choose not to buy candy from bigger companies like Mars, Nestle, Hershey, and Cadbury. Other Easter candy (such as jellybeans) are produced from these brands too, so check the label.
Do buy candy from great companies
Send your money to companies who source their chocolate ethically. Here is a table that has lots of candy companies. You can see which ones are organic and which ones are “fair trade” (this means they make an effort to pay their farmers a fair price and also make an effort to improve the lives of their farmers). Here is a link to an app you can download from Food Empowerment on your phone. Honestly, we just did away with all candy this year. I know, I’m that mom, but having candy in our house makes my daughter insane. She begs for it all day long and kind of goes crazy with the sugar. So we’ll have plastic eggs with money, Annie’s Bunny Grahams, and some nuts. But if you are a fun mom, unlike me, below are some chocolate and other candies that are sourced ethically. You could go in with a few different people and split the cost.
Yummy Earth Organic Fruit snacks
Soy, dairy, peanut, tree nut-free
No artificial dyes or colors
Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops
These are also gluten, nut, egg, soy, casein, dairy, and GMO free
No artificial food dyes or flavors
Yummy Earth Sour Jelly Beans
Also Gluten, egg, soy, nut, peanut, casein, dairy-freeNo artificial dyes or flavors
So who’s with me? Who is going to change the way they do Easter this year? I’d love to have other families with me, and help change the culture of chocolate buying in our country!