Saturday, October 01, 2005


I can hardly believe it's fall, and yet, October is already here. Time flies . . . Anyway, Halloween is just a few weeks away, so I thought I post on two great ways to trick-or-treat. You'll have fun, get some treats and do a lot of good for a lot of people. Here's how:

* Trick-or-treat for Sight Night and collect used glasses that will be recycled "for our international missions to developing countries" The Lions Club and Luxottica Retail, which sponsor the event, "will travel on 12 international missions, where they will work with Lions clubs to hand-deliver free eye exams and used glasses to more than 200,000 people in developing countries."

--> Call SightNight toll-free at 1-877-605-4242 for more information or to order your free collection kit.
--> Download collection materials here
--> Order your free collection kit here.

* Trick-or-treat for UNICEF and be a part of a 55-year tradition of helping children worldwide. Collect monetary donations that will save and improve lives. For example, "30¢ provides lifesaving antibiotics for a child suffering from pneumonia. $1 immunizes a child against the deadly disease measles. $10 provides enough high-protein biscuits to feed three hungry children for one month."

--> Call UNICEF toll-free at 1.800.4UNICEF for more information or to order your free collection kit.
--> Download collection materials here
--> Order your free collection kit here.
--> Send a free Halloween ecard to spread the word about about the good work UNICEF is doing.

Order your kits now so that you'll be ready for Halloween. Have fun!!

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who matter don't mind, and those that mind don't matter!" - Dr. Seuss (Theodore Giesel)


Lynne said...

I just returned from Ghana and while we were there my friend gave her reading glasses to a 70+ year old man who was amazed how much better he could see. So don't limit this trick or treat effort to just perscription eyeglasses. The relatively inexpensive reading glasses that are available at the grocery or discount store are also needed.

Karama said...

Thanks for this very good suggestion, Lynne! You're right. The magnifying nonprescriptions glasses can be very helpful to folks that need them.

I hope you enjoyed your stay in Ghana. Isn't is a wonderful country? I had such a good time when I visited in 2000. Kwadjo and I plan to go back in 2007 for the 50th anniversary of independence. Can't wait to hear about your trip!

Thanks for your comment, and thanks for reading So what can I do. Please stop by again soon, and spread the word.

Karama said...

You may want to reconsider distributing big name chocolate since much of it is produced using forced child labor. Fair-trade chocolate is always a better option. Enjoy!

Karama said...

In case others are wondering what "trunk-or-treat" is all about:

"The World's Safest Most Unconventional Trick or Treat!

This activity is a lot of fun and has the added advantage of being far safer than conventional trick or treating - we call it TRUNK OR TREAT.

Here's how it works: Call friends and neighbors, or talk to your church, play group or maybe just everybody on your long dirt road where conventional trick-or-treating is unrealistic, and see if there is any interest in a trick or treat set up where everyone decorates their cars, RV's, tractors or vans; then everybody drives to an assigned spot - the church parking lot, school lot, or maybe a local strip mall. Everyone backs into place. The center is left open for games and judging, and finally trick or treating, with kids darting from car to car."

Karama said...

This just in from M&M/MARS:

"Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2005 16:31:38

In response to your email regarding MASTERFOODS USA, A DIVISION OF MARS,

Thank you for sharing with us your thoughts regarding working conditions on cocoa farms.  Mars takes very seriously our responsibility to the cocoa farming families who provide us with this important ingredient.  Our privately owned company’s heritage is based on a genuine commitment to the communities that are touched by our business. Driven by that commitment, Mars has taken a leadership role in our industry’s efforts to ensure a sustainable future for the family farms where our products begin, for the children who live on those farms, for the communities that rely on those farms and for the ecosystems in which those farms play an important role.  Our efforts seek to raise overall
farmer incomes and encourage sustainable cocoa cultivation. As in any agricultural society, it is reasonable and acceptable for children to work safely with their parents on small, family-run farms.

However, when reports were made that some children were working in dangerous conditions on cocoa farms in West Africa, we responded.  In
2001, in a process initiated and guided by U.S. Senator Tom Harkin and U.S. Representative Elliot Engel, Mars, along with members of the global
chocolate industry, signed an unprecedented Industry Protocol to address this important issue. Joining us in this effort are organizations such as
the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), who are firmly committed to the Protocol’s approach and goals.  To quote Kevin Bales, Executive Director
of Free The Slaves, a respected non-governmental organization (NGO) leading the worldwide crusade to eliminate all forms of abusive or coercive work practices, “This Protocol is a breakthrough in the global fight against slavery. The partnership between industry, governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders is unique and will stand as a model for other products and countries.”The Protocol outlines a series of date-specific steps to ensure that cocoa
is grown responsibly, free from abusive child labor.  The Protocol called for the implementation, by July 1, 2005, of a certification process that ensures cocoa is grown free from abusive child labor.  

As with previous milestones, Mars and the cocoa industry are proud of the progress we have made towards that goal, and we are committed to refining and fully implementing the certification process and to improving the lives of West African cocoa farmers and their families.We recognize that to achieve real change means working in partnership with others who have skills complementary to our own.  Another key milestone of the Protocol involved the establishment of The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), an independent voice dedicated to eradicating abusive child and forced labor in cocoa production worldwide.  As a registered charity, the ICI’s Board of Directors represents a wide range of stakeholders: human rights and child labor organizations, trades unions, local groups in the cocoa growing countries, and the cocoa and chocolate industry.  We are proud that one of our senior Mars executives has been
chosen to serve as co-president of the ICI, along with a top-ranking official from civil society.  The ICI is already making great strides in understanding and improving labor conditions throughout West Africa.

Mars has also taken the initiative to fund a new program with the internationally renowned development organization, Winrock International.
Our partnership with Winrock seeks to enhance educational opportunities for West African children.  We are working with our industry partners and
non-governmental organizations around the globe to “scale up” this and similar efforts so that they ultimately will help all cocoa farmers and their families.

Other accomplishments include: the establishment of farmer field schools, where farmers are trained to understand international labor standards; the creation of pilot programs that seek to raise the overall standard of living of rural cocoa farming families and workers through farmer training seminars and other means; and the promotion of internationally accepted labor practices among farmers by disseminating public education messages via radio – often the only communications tool that farmers can access. We have already seen considerable success from this holistic approach in
West Africa. For instance, the Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP), a public-private partnership between the global chocolate industry and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, is improving the lives of farm families by increasing farmers’ incomes.  In Cameroon, the STCP trained farmer organizations in business planning, marketing and accounting, and established 300 sales points throughout the country where farmers can sell their cocoa as a group – thereby increasing their economic leverage.  On average, farmers who participated in this program earned 15 percent more for their cocoa crop.These steps to address cocoa growing conditions in West Africa are just the beginning of a long-term commitment Mars began in 1998 to improve the well-being of millions of small farmers who grow cocoa.  

For specific information about our commitment and our progress to date, please visit or We hope you’ll agree that our commitment to achieving real and meaningful improvement on this issue is a mutually beneficial goal that will, over time, make a real difference for the farmers, their families and the communities that grow cocoa, the essential ingredient for all chocolate products.


Consumer Care
Masterfoods USAADivision of Mars, Incorporated"

Karama said...

You can donate old glasses any time of year! Just stop by your neighborhood Lenscrafters. They'll "make them good as new and deliver them to those in need in developing countries." I just dropped off two pair this morning.