And it has nothing to do with my diet, actually (though I have dropped 10 lbs. thus far, in anticipation of my upcoming role in “The Music Man”).
I don’t have a taste for chocolate anymore, at least not that produced by the leading chocolate producers in this country, such as Nestle, M&M Mars, etc. I don’t buy it because of the likelihood that some kid is working long hours as a slave to produce it. Here’s another site that talks about the same problem. See, I’m a follower of Jesus, and I began to think recently about the fact that that needs to influence the purchases I make. I’m a little late to this type of party, I realize; I naturally tend to be a little skeptical about causes promoted by folks with different political agendas than myself–and I’m sure that there are folks across the political spectrum who are in line with this one.
But I don’t care.
And the reason I don’t care is because I had to ask myself this simple question: if little American boys were being snatched up into slavery, would I stand for it? Would I turn up the music, turn up a blind eye, and pretend it wasn’t happening, if 10-year-old boys were being grabbed off the streets of Marietta? Would I buy products that were produced with their slave labor? Of course not. And nothing changes with that fact because the little boys aren’t from Georgia, but rather from Africa. Nothing. Not if I’m serious about following the Jesus who came to set captives free, whose Father’s heart must break about such conditions. Now that I know it’s happening, I’m responsible for that knowledge.
And so are you.
I wrote letters to major American chocolate manufacturers. Some companies are doing something–but no company is doing enough. In fact, here’s a great website that ranks different companies with an easy-to-understand letter grade as to their involvement in stopping slavery, etc. Nestle gets a “C”, which isn’t terrible, I guess, but they could–and should–do more, and until they do, I can do without Crunch bars.
By the way, if chocolate is certified Fair Trade, you can generally buy it with confidence. Yep, it costs more–but helping little boys get free from slavery is more important to me than cheap chocolate.
And it should be to you, too.