A discussion on modern slavery led students in English 3 Honors to serve Fair Trade coffee to students and staff early Friday morning before the start of school.
The school already has coffee every morning in the media center, but now students are using coffee from an organization that attempts to combat slavery.
Teacher Kaycie Wells said the class’ discussion started with reading about Frederick Douglass, but quickly spiraled to more modern day slavery topics.
“We learned about different types of modern slavery, and then we really started focusing on like, the sweat shops and also migrant workers and farmers in South America who are not being treated fairly and who are not being paid what they should be paid, and it’s a type of slavery, and that was the connection we were making,” Wells said.
The students started researching ways they could help make a difference, and one brand they came across was Fair Trade USA and the nonprofit organization Free the Slaves.
“Fair Trade, it certifies that people are being treated fairly and also certifies that the environment is being treated well as well, and so the money goes to support farmers, it goes to support that whole cause,” Wells said.
After each student donated $2 so Wells could purchase the coffee from Publix, the manager told her Publix would purchase the coffee for the school to have every Friday morning so the students don’t have to pay for it.
“They’re really big about building up communities as well, and since we don’t have to purchase the coffee anymore, the students are coming in and buying coffee for a $1, so now it’s going to be very profitable and so what the students want to do is donate that money to Free the Slaves and Fair Trade,” Wells said. “We’re going to be giving that money back to these organizations to help end slavery around the world.”
Kaylee Thomson, an 11th-grader at the school who is in the class, said she didn’t realize how prevalent slavery still is in the world.
“I liked getting involved,” Thomson said.
Thomson said she likes Fair Trade USA because it’s good for the environment, they pay minimum wage and there are no Genetically Modified Organisms in its food products.
“There’s many ways to do it — there’s not just giving money,” Thomson said.
Contact staff writer Ariel Gilreath at 864-943-5644 or follow on Twitter @IJARIELGILREATH.