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.
On a beautiful Spring Saturday in March, ARRNT held another benefit and garage sale. Learning from past sales, we anchored our large, more colorful signs with sandbags (kitty litter) and twist-tied them to boxes that would not budge. The amount of traffic was also encouraged by the good weather, the visible signs, and by a neighborhood conjoint sale that was well-publicized and well documented. Shoppers arrived before the doors even opened, with three people getting a preview and purchasing some items that normally never sell. We also had three people shopping to send things overseas to people who would appreciate our donated items.
Thanks to Helpful ARRNT Members
Helping to price items before the sale were ARRNT members Char and Margaret, who did a great job of getting us ready to make a sale. Char added sizes to the price tags of clothing items and Margaret looked up unknown still-in-the-package items from Ikea in order to identify and price them. Helping out on sale day were members Char (the early shift), Adam and Claire (the cleanup crew). By the end of the sale, all items were sorted for a future sale or for donating to another rescue group.
Supporting Our Mission through Fundraising
The sale earned us enough money to pay our fees for the next six months, with almost enough left to purchase a pop-up tent with sidewalls for tabling. These tents are required at most events and help to keep volunteers safe from wind, rain and sun while manning the tables. With tent rentals at $100 per event, it is prudent to purchase a durable tent for all the many future plans we have! Possible future plans for tabling include the Earth Day festival in Oak Cliff, the Eco-Festival or State Veggie Fair in the fall. (We will also be tabling with the Vegan Club at the UTA campus this month, too.) We will be looking for opportunities to collaborate with like-minded groups who may want to join us in our work to increase understanding and respect for all other beings on the planet.
A big Thank You to everyone who supported the event. We even received some donations from the community and talked with interested citizens about what is happening to animals, how animals are sentient, intelligent and often misunderstood by humans, and all too often used as commodities rather than respected as valued living beings. A few people took our business cards, and a copy of our dairy information sheet was put in every bag for everyone who shopped. Let’s hope the real pay-off for the benefit will be in educating the public!