May 14, 2020

Dear Friends,
Today civil discourse is facing some of its biggest challenges. People are afraid to express themselves without conversations becoming arguments, or worse yet, they are not bothering to talk at all. Most aren’t even listening. This is the first thing you find on the about page of Decency Today and this is a far too relatable statement.

Now more than ever, we must strive to make decency the standard of interaction again. Today is National Decency Day and the ask is simple; remember the importance of civil discourse, practice genuine conversation (the kind you aren’t trying to win), and extend the common decency all people have a right to.

Each day is a new opportunity to meet the world with decency. And what a beautiful opportunity to do so as we all slowly re-enter the world from our time of isolation.

In other news – Starting Friday JRPC & the Olive Branch will be open Monday – Saturday from 11:00 – 4:00. We are so excited to see everyone again!

Here are a few things we want you to know before your shopping adventure begins.

  • We are currently not accepting Cash.
  • All of our staff are wearing masks to keep you safe and we hope you will too. Darth Vader impressions are encouraged.
  • Just inside the door we have a sanitizing station with hand sanitizer and gloves for you to use if you wish.
  • We ask that you respect peoples space and follow the arrows on the floor through the shop to ensure that everyone has a safe shopping experience. Skipping and singing “follow the yellow brick road” are optional.
  • Sadly, we can only have 4 friends in at a time. Check out our neighbors Upcycled, Betty’s Divine, and Bathing Beauties Beads if you need to wait!
  • Don’t want to come in? That’s okay! We can still do curbside pick-up if you need a fair trade chocolate fix or some finger puppets to entertain kiddos. Just give us a call at 406.543.3955.

Betsy and I are eternally grateful for all of your amazing support during this strange time,

Carol Schwartz

P.S. If anyone has an infrared or forehead thermometer that we can use for the foreseeable future it would be much appreciated!

Never Doubt

May 7, 2020
Dear Friends,

While the COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to require much of global attention in the coming months, its important to remember that issues related to peace & justice need as much attention as ever. I have seen so much beauty and grace in response to this reality we are currently living. However, that response is not absolute and its shortfalls reflect many disparities that exist in our world normally.

Most Native American Nations have received little to no support during this pandemic. People sit in jails and prisons across this country with few options of how to protect themselves from an outbreak inside. Children live on top of each other in refugee camps or boarder detention facilities. There are veterans who live on the streets and people that can’t afford food. Meanwhile, the the US military budget sits at 748 Billion for 2020. So, what can we do?

JRPC has been working with the Friends Committee on National Legislation and some Missoula community members for the past few months on building a Grassroots Advocacy Team here in Missoula. FCNL’s advocacy teams work together building ongoing relationships with elected representatives to foster a network of advocates in the community acting as champions for peace and justice. More specifically, these teams advocate for issues pertaining to,

    • Criminal Justice
    • Economic Justice
    • Environment & Energy
    • Gun Violence Prevention
    • Immigration & Refugees
    • The Middle East & Iran
    • Native Americans
    • Nuclear Weapons
    • Peacebuilding
    • U.S. Wars & Militarism
  •          Voting and Elections
    • Our next workshop is a 2 hour interactive advocacy workshop that will train participants in how to be more effective advocates for peace and justice, even while isolated at home. We will go in-depth on FCNL’s relationship-based style of lobbying, teach skills on storytelling, and best practices on effective communication with members of Congress. We will explore why the Advocacy Teams program is so effective, provide an overview of our 2020 campaign to end endless war, and take action together. At the end, we will be ready to move forward with launching a grassroots Missoula Advocacy Team to continue this work. This workshop is free and open to the public. Join us May 21 from 6:00-8:00 on Zoom! Please register at on FCNL’s website so we can have an accurate count of participants.


Carol Schwartz

P.S. If anyone has an infrared or forehead thermometer that we can use for the foreseeable future it would be much appreciated! It’s also not too late to make a donation to Missoula Gives. Giving has been extended through Friday May 8th!

New Normal

Dear Friends,

I know many are anxiously awaiting a return to “normal” life. I have heard it several times in the past few weeks. What has been more interesting to me however is the number of people expressing anxiety over returning to that normal. Personally, I fall into this second group. I am enjoying the slower pace of life and have been energized by the freedom of my time. Regardless of what comes as we venture back into the world one of the (many) areas where we cannot afford to return to “normal” is our relationship with the environment. It has been amazing to see how the natural world has rebounded. Dolphins in Venice, cleaner air in Los Angeles, endangered animal populations recovering, and all of this in a few months. It is my sincere hope that we can use the lessons we have learned (and are still learning) form the experiences of the last few months to think more intentionally about what the new normal can look like.

Thank you to everyone who sent in a message to the earth in celebration of the 50th earth day! So many wonderful messages that inspire and show the beauty of our natural world.

Carol Schwartz

Little Moments

When we were asked as board members to write an intro for the newsletter, I was a bit apprehensive, as I am not the best person to put words on paper.  We were asked to write about how the COVID-19 has affected us, and how we are managing.

After the realization that this virus was going to affect our community the same as it has so many others before us, as owners of a small business the first and hardest reality was the fact that we had to lay off our employees.  We are not alone in the fact that our business is our family income. We have many friends who are in the same situation. We will just keep doing what we do, the best way we can and with some prayer and a little sweat, we will come out of this ok.

I have to say, that since life has slowed down a bit, I have taken more time to notice what is around me and appreciate the small things in life.  I have also noticed that people in general seem to be showing more compassion. I have seen so much generosity take place in the last month, and witnessed so much support of one another, it makes me grateful to be part of this community. As for the bigger picture, all you have to do is turn on the news and in five minutes or less, you will spot much of the same generosity everywhere.  People caring about people.

Stay safe and well wishes.

Jana Jackson
JRPC Coordinating Council Member

Shop Fair Trade



Shop Fair Trade Online Here

As you board any airline, you will be advised that in an emergency you should secure your own oxygen mask before helping someone else secure theirs. For the past two weeks, we at JRPC have been working to secure our “oxygen mask”. We have figured out some new routines for our work and some new ways to connect with each other and all of you. Your memberships and donations are helping us continue to pay our employees, to give rent abatements to our wonderful renters (Upcycled and HŌM·BÄDĒ) and to keep up with the expenses of our building and business.

The Olive Branch store is a big part of our business income, but we know its bigger mission is one of justice for communities around the world struggling to lift themselves out of poverty. The artists and craftspeople who make our Fair Trade items also need an “oxygen mask”. If businesses like ours quit selling their goods, they will cease getting an income. Every dollar you and I spend – even now – is a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. The support for local businesses and front-line responders is nothing short of awe-inspiring! But in our global world, local casts a larger net.

We introduced this community to Fair Trade back in the 1980’s and your purchases have made a big difference and cast many votes for justice in the world. Now is not the time to abandon that difference and those communities who rely on us. We succeed together. So, we selected a few items that we felt would be useful and relevant now and created an Online Olive Branch. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just let us know and we’ll do our best to make it happen! We are happy to offer several ways to get things to you – and happy also to throw in some Fair Trade chocolate for every purchase to say thank you for helping us continue to make a difference in our community and around the world…Betsy