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A Fair Trade Halloween

The members of Many Helping Hands would like to encourage everyone to purchase Fair Trade chocolate this Halloween.  Many thousands of children are trafficked and enslaved on cocoa farms in West Africa and the Ivory Coast.  These children are torn away from their families to work in abusive conditions.  But you can help.

The best way to fight this injustice is to buy Fair Trade chocolate.  When you buy Fair Trade, you can be assured that the farmers are being paid fair wages and that slavery and abusive child labor are not being used.  This Halloween, make the choice to give Fair Trade Chocolate.  You can find many Fair Trade chocolate companies online and have the chocolate shipped directly to you.  One place to buy is at NaturalCandyStore.com – just click on Fair Trade Candy on the left.  They even sell the chocolate in bulk, so you can find two or three other people who want to purchase Fair Trade as well and go in on it together! 

How else can you help?  By spreading the word!  Encourage your friends and family to buy Fair Trade candy this Halloween (and beyond).  This year, the members of Many Helping Hands will be giving out reverse trick-or-treating flyers to those who come to our door (along with a piece of fair trade candy and some other non-chocolate candy or toys).  Some people use this flyer to give out to the houses that they trick-or-treat at as well.  Check out the flyer here –  http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/fairtrade/cocoa/reversetrickortreating/RTTFlyer2010.pdf

We hope everyone has a wonderful Halloween and we hope that, this year, an unprecedented number of people will be giving out Fair Trade chocolate.  Spread the word and we can really make a difference!!

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Goal Increased!

Those of you who have been checking the site regularly may have noticed that our goal listed on our thermometer keeps going up.  That’s a great thing!!  That’s because all of you have been so generous that we’ve far surpassed our original goal.  So, when we surpass the goal, does that mean we quit there?  No way!!  We’re hoping we have to increase the goal many more times before the end of this drive.  Remember, every bag given makes a difference!!  Keep collecting those bags through August 15th (and if you want to do a collection after that, feel free to contact us and we can arrange that too!).

Great news for those of you in the Huntley area – the Reebok Outlet in Prime Outlets Huntley has offered to be a drop-off location for the duffel bag drive.  And, to make things even better, they will give a 40% discount on any bags purchased for the drive!  (They will also accept other bags as well, so you don’t have to buy one there to use them as a drop-off location).

New drop-off locations are still being added regularly (for instance, the UPS store in Buffalo Grove will also be collecting bags starting next week), so check the list of drop-off locations often!

Duffel Bag Drive

Thousands of foster care children as well as those in institutions carry their worldly possessions in a black garbage bag as they move from home to home.  Having to carry all they own in a trash bag inadvertently sends foster children the message that they (and their belongings) are merely trash.  Our dream is to provide each of these children with the dignity of owning a duffel bag to carry their belongings in. 

Get involved by donating your new or gently used duffel bags, large backpacks or kid-sized suitcases (I’m sorry, but large suitcases can’t be accepted because of a lack of storage space).  Donated bags can be designed for kids or they can be regular, plain bags (the kids range in age from very young to teenagers).

Donated bags will be distributed to ECFA (Evangelical Child and Family Agency), Allendale Association and Lydia Home Association.  ECFA provides many services, including foster care, adoption services and counseling.  Allendale Association provides care, education, treatment and advocacy for troubled children and youth, many of whom come to them through DCFS.  Finally, Lydia Home provides foster care services and runs a program called Safe Families which provides emergency care for children whose families are in crisis.  We would encourage you to learn more about all three of these great organizations!

Below, we’ve listed our current duffel bag drop-off locations.  We are adding new locations daily, so check back often.  Pick-up may also be able to be arranged, so please contact us if you don’t see a location listed near you!

Duffel Bag Drop-Off Locations

Arlington Heights:                                            
1405 S. Highland Ave.
(Leave bags on porch if no one is home).

Hampshire:
2670 Cameron Drive
(Leave bags on porch if no one is home).

Bartlett:
135 S. Berteau Ave.
(Leave bags on porch if no one is home).

Schaumburg:
St. Peter Lutheran Church
202 E. Schaumburg Road

Crystal Lake:
Willow Creek Community Church – McHenry Campus
220 Exchange Drive, Suite A

Mundelein:
1420 Huntington Dr.
(Leave bags on porch if no one is home).

Chicago -Tribune Tower:
Contact jharding@tribune.com for drop-off information.

Huntley:
Reebok Outlet – Huntley Prime Outlets
11800 Factory Shops Blvd
Receive a 40% Discount on bags purchased at Reebok Outlet for donation!

Buffalo Grove:
The UPS Store
318 Half Day Rd (Woodland Commons shopping center at corner of Half Day & Buffalo Grove)

South Barrington:
There is no official drop-off location in South Barrington, but we can arrange to meet at Willow Creek Community Church to collect bags from you during normal service times.

We are a group of average people who are hoping to make a difference in the world.  Our goal is to raise awareness, funds and donations for the many different local and global causes that we feel passionate about.  We are hoping that, as a group of like-minded individuals, we can make a greater impact than we would each be able to achieve alone.  We hope you will join us in our efforts!

One person can make a difference, but what greater change could we bring with Many Helping Hands?

This blog will be used to help spread the word about our ongoing projects.  Check back often to see what’s new.