I would like to direct you guys to the Coffee Ambassadors website (which is on the blogroll to the right and has a beautiful little page dedicated to Nate, if you’re interested). There are a few reasons. The founder and CEO of Coffee Ambassadors is Tim Taylor, Nate’s brother. About 3 years ago, Nate and I, and Tim and his wife, Mandi, all started learning more about fairly traded goods. Nate and I learned more about fair trade chocolate from our travels to Africa, while Tim and Mandi learned more about fair trade coffee from their travels to Latin America.

If you do not know much about fair trade, it is simply paying people who produce goods (or services) a fair price, because many times people such as coffee or cocoa farmers are from developing nations that do little to protect their wages. Companies come in to buy said coffee and cocoa, but refuse to pay them a fair price. If one is a poor coffee or cocoa farmer with a small plot of land, there is little you can do to argue with them while your family is hungry and desperately needs the money. It is an atrocity that makes the poor poorer while we reap the benefits in getting lower prices (not realizing the low prices might save us pennies, but came out of the paycheck of a farmer elsewhere).

Tim, seeing fair trade as a cause that should be embraced by the church, caught a vision to start a direct trade coffee company that could be embraced by churches. He took fair trade one step further by going directly to farmers in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and elsewhere, and instead of buying through a fair trade distributor (which is what most fair traded coffee does), he traded directly with the farmers. This means that he effectively cut out the middle man, and any fees that go with that the would not go to the farmer, and gave his coffee farmers a price that was 25% above fair trade prices.

Above this, he and Mandi want to eventually put money back into the farming communities, by investing in the local farms, building schools, churches, and sending mission groups to the farming communities so they can see what direct trade business does first hand. As you can imagine, he developed good friendships with the farmers he worked with. He is now going around the U.S. speaking to churches and speaking to them about the importance of the church’s involvement in fair and direct trade.

*Oh, and he happens to buy some of the best coffee in the world, and is a master at the perfect roast. I have people that come over to my house just because they want some of my coffee (which is from Coffee Ambassadors). People who usually need to mask their coffee with cream and sugar drink it black, because, as one friend put it, “It’s like putting ketchup on a fine steak.” If you are one of those that has been enlightened to the fact that Starbucks purposely burns their coffee so they can mask the lower quality of their beans and use less of them to brew, since burned coffee comes off much stronger, then you will immediately recognize the quality of Coffee Ambassadors. If you have not been enlightened to the Starbucks burning effect, then at least try some truly well-roasted coffee, and no doubt you will taste the difference. There’s my short sales schpeel. Also, if Starbucks is a must, they are required to brew you a pot of fairly traded coffee if you ask for it. They don’t always know what people are talking about, but more employees will know if we all ask.*

But the point of my post is to say that one of the farmers that Tim works with was robbed and killed by bandit last week, along with his son. The man’s name was Carlos, his son’s Edwin.  Another horrible part of all of this is that Carlos’ widow, Juana, has been left with 11 other children to solely care for.

The church came to my aid as a widow and has financially provided for me, and kept me and my baby from some really bad hardships. Here is another widow with many more hardships facing her, and 11 fatherless children who will have some great needs. There is a memorial fund set up for them–which you can give to by going to the Coffee Ambassadors website– please, please consider donating money to help this family. I’d also like to say that even though financial giving helped us so much in our time of need, I really think God was especially close to us because of people’s prayers. There’s something indescribable about the spiritual feeling of having so many people praying for you, crying for you, groaning in the Spirit on your behalf. Please pray for Juana Garcia and her children, they need that the most.