Campus events always seem to be the most productive outreach events we have. World Vegan Day was no exception. We meet witih dozens of students, offer vegan food to hundreds of people, and show Pay Per View to many others. Literature is usually passed out to thousands of people on campus, allowing us to reach many Texans. Best of all, most of the people we meet seem very receptive to the information we have to share.
Join us for our next UTA campus outreach on 3/20/2013, to support the worldwide Meatout Event. Ours will be: Take the Vegan Pledge!
Because we have a number of members in the greater Dallas area, we decided to try a Meetup in Dallas for a change. Where else would we begin exploring Dallas vegan eateries than the wonderful Spiral Diner? Our Earth Day event took place right down the street and some of us managed to sneak in for a quick ice cream treat to make the day even more glorious. Since that had been months ago, it was time to visit Spiral again. Not only does Spiral offer a wide variety of veganized comfort foods, but they have some terrific salads and inspiring desserts.
One of the best reasons for participating in our Meetups is meeting wonderful people. This event was no exception, with a new person joining us for the first time — welcome, Mary! We also had members that drove down from Denton — we appreciate the effort and hope they will join us at the Veggie State Fair in October, too. We hope our vegan hugs made the drive tolerable!
While there is nothing better than a Spiral meal, the acoustics make it very difficult to converse. Written updates were given out, but little business took place. We took in $20 in donations (thank you, thank you) which really helps, and looked at our upcoming events calendar. We also reviewed some potential projects for World Vegan Day and the State Veggie Fair in November and October respectively. We are waiting for quotes on a memorial tree planting plaque (WVD) and colored ARRNT tee shirts (SVF), as well as the cost of placing animal advocacy ads on the DART system. We are also needing to save up for our 501(c)3, so another garage sale may be in our future. Meanwhile, we are working to get a PayPal account for online donations – just a few more details to get it completed.
July 12th found Animal Rights & Rescue in the middle of a very busy Employee Health Fair. The Fort Worth branch of a local company had a series of tables set up, a large recycling display, and hundreds of employees who attended the fair and walked past the ARRNT table. Since this was a corporate affair, we were allowed to bring vegan food to share. Nothing quite draws a crowd to your table like free food! We had lemon tarts and lemon bars, along with three kinds of Field Roast Sausage: Chipotle, Italian and Apple Sage. Most everyone was eager to try our plant-based, cholesterol-free offerings, and all but one or two seemed to really be surprised at how much they enjoyed the flavor, taste and texture. One person mentioned that there was “something missing” from the lemon tarts. Indeed there was something missing — cruelty! (Thanks to Margaret for that connection!!)
Giving Back With Kindness
Only one person became challenging, stating she was from “PETA – People for Eating Tasty Animals,” and, tried to antagonize us. “I am not from the PETA you support.” We explained we did not support People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals but were an independent organization. Later, this same person came back, engaged us in conversation, tried the Field Roast sausage and admitted it was pretty good! It was a good reminder to never give back in kind, but to always give kindness back. One never knows what will stay in another person’s heart.
Our books and DVDs (from Compassionate Cooks) were taken early in the day, and more flyers and brochures were taken than at any other event. So many employees seemed interested in animals and rescue, but were not too certain about drawing the connections with their consumer choices. Since our table was right next to the Water Conservation table of the county water district, our graphic showing the water usage of one vegan meal versus one omnivorous meal was fortunate placement.
Planting Seeds, Changing Hearts
Corporate events are a great way to reach out into the community, to network with other service providers, and to become more visible in the DFW area. Many people took our new informational sheet about ARRNT as well as booklets about animal rights and veganism. These events allow us to answer questions, present resources and offer giveaways to people. If you have not been to a tabling event, it is a wonderful way to plant seeds of peace and help our neighbors live a healthier, kinder life. And most of all, they help us get the word out about other animals!
We have already scheduled three more corporate events for calendar year 2013.
We cannot be sure exactly why, but Loving Hut decided to reopen as a restaurant with seating, with an expanded menu, and with some self-service additions. Seeing that flashing OPEN sign on the window was a wonderful contrast to the dismal CLOSED sign we saw at our prior LH Meetup. This Meetup was a record for ARRNT, with seventeen people attending (though only five were members). Everyone was encouraged to join us on Meetup dot com and thanked for attending. These events not only help to galvanize the community to support our efforts, to support other animal advocates, but also help a struggling vegan business stay healthy and survive. We expect to be hosting monthly LH meet ups in addition to our other Meetups, too.
We also dropped off a dozen of our new ARRNT brochures, which delineate our commitments, reasons for going vegan, and online links for further information. We will check back to see if anyone picks up our flyers and note if anyone joins us because of them.
If you missed this great gathering, check our Facebook page for the next Loving Hut Meetup in August! And, have a wonderful summer.
I was recently interviewed on OHNR by Dr. Roger Yates of Dublin. Dr. Yates has been one of the vegan pioneers and a mentor to me, helping me learn many things about animal rights. I felt honored to be on an OHNR podcast and was pleased to be able to highlight ARRNT and our work in educating others to respect and understand all animals.
Here is the podcast.
Dr. Yates is the former Press Officer for an animal liberation organization and brought up the important point of promoting our group. Dr. Yates is a true vegan pioneer and has much to teach us all about avoiding burnout and staying in the game.
ARRNT was recently invited to participate in an employee Green Day festival which took place June 28, 2012. The event was indoors, with all tables, setup and supplies provided for us. We were even provided with two bottles of water and a coupon for lunch (although there was nothing available for vegans at this facility). The hosts were very hospitable and helped us take our outreach materials to our car at day’s end. While the number of participants was light, they informed us that their next festival, in Fort Worth in July, will be much better attended.
What We Heard
This was not only a great networking opportunity, it also afforded us a glimpse into Texas thinking. Some of the statements we heard:
“But we need to get calcium for our bones, don’t we?”
“I heard the mother cows crying for their calves all night; I never forgot that. Then I became a mother and it really hit me.”
“I am not going vegan. What else ya got?”
“So, are you for animals or are you vegans?”
“I have a rescued cat.”
“I wouldn’t know what to cook”
Do you know of any classes on how to transition to veganism?”
As in past tabling events, we gave out many informational sheets and found a new home for a vegan cookbook, My Sweet Vegan. Two women were excited to see the possibilities and begin thinking of new ways to get their families on board plant-based eating.
Englarging the Tent
Many folks seem to realize that companion animals like cats and dogs are individuals with distinct personalities. Most struggled to consider that other animals, ones with which they are unfamiliar, may be similarly individualistic. But most listened, asked questions, and picked up brochures such as Respecting Animals by Boston Vegan Association.
Some were shocked to hear about the decimation of marine life, the pollution caused by animal agriculture, or the sensitivity of other animals. Because the facility was indoors, there was no problem with wind, temperature, or sound. This allowed us to really concentrate of answering questions. Nearly everyone that came by took at least a few brochures.
Premiering, and possibly the most popular information sheet taken was our new promotional flyer for our own group. It includes our commitments, reasons for going vegan, suggestions of action anyone can take, and links for further information as well as ARRNT contact information.
Setting the Stage for Change
We will be allowed to bring vegan goodies to the July event, which always seems to draw a crowd and change attitudes about vegan food. Anyone willing to donate vegan brownies, vegan cookies, of volunteer at the event, please sign up on our Meetup page.
This year’s business fairs are only prelude for what is to follow. Establishing these important, positive connections will allow us to be more effective in changing things for other animals. Don’t miss it – join our efforts!
At the request of those who have attended past film viewings, we held another one in close succession. If you recall, our last film was My Life As A Turkey, the amazing tale of a man who raised a rafter of wild turkeys without any human contact for over a year. This time, we focused on the life of a captive elephant who was raised as one man’s daughter — albeit a working daughter — in One Lucky Elephant. The man used the elephant, Flora, in his circus and realized after her adolescence, that he needed to let her become an elephant among other elephants. This documentary exposes the tragedy that occurs when other animals are used for human entertainment or comfort without knowledge of the emotional and physical needs of the elephant. There are over 600 elephants in North America, and all of them have experienced devastating trauma, physical discomfort and torment, and emotional distress and devastation. We learned that these majestic elephants require about 450 pounds per day of food, and need many, many miles to traverse. They are also herd animals and as such belong with their own herd. But reintroducing an only child into a group of elephants may become challenging and even deadly. Since an elephant I know from the past and her former female caregiver were both in the film, it was doubly meaningful to me.
ARRNT News Updates
The potluck was, as always, a way to taste many new plant-based dishes among good company. We discussed briefly some news for the group:
- We have been invited to participate in a tabling event that is an employee health fair
- We have signed up to be on a site for in-kind donations
- We were awarded a $100 grant and received a $100 donation in exchange for a week of dogsitting
We also need to plan for the following upcoming events:
- An inreach – we will be leaving brochures at selected sites and monitoring which leaflets are being picked up
- The Texas State Veggie Fair in October
- World Vegan Day in November
Ongoing ARRNT Business
We continue to need to promote the group to find people willing to work to educate others about the significance of other animals, and to find ways of receiving financial support.
Our next meeting will be at the Dallas Spiral Diner on July 21st at 2:00 pm. See you there!