The History of Our Palm Crosses
African Palms was founded in 1965 by Father Alan Talbot, an Anglican priest, who served for six years as a missionary in Tanzania. Father Talbot observed the poverty of the people and sought ways for them to increase their income. He encouraged the villagers to begin weaving palm crosses to sell to churches for use on Palm Sunday. In 1976, the Women of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olney, Maryland, accepted the mission of distributing the palm crosses to churches throughout the United States, and African Palms USA was born. It has become the major outreach of the church, with net proceeds from the sale of crosses, and now totes, returned to Africa in the form of non-denominational, self-help grants. Since its inception, African Palms USA has awarded over $1.9 million to African communities to help meet basic human needs such as clean drinking water, HIV/AIDS education, fighting hunger, and farming ventures. The crosses and totes are made throughout the year in villages near Masasi, Tanzania. The palm crosses and totes are made from dried leaves of the dwarf palm, hyphaena coriacia, harvested from the local forest. Only the leaves are used, leaving the tree intact and our products environmentally-friendly. Nothing has been artificially treated, so the product you receive is wholly organic. Once the products have been shipped from Tanzania to the United States, they go through a quality control process and are repackaged for shipment throughout the country. This process is accomplished by many dedicated volunteers from young students to senior citizens!