Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Message to Friends (Or: An Early Holiday Letter!)

Dear Friends,

We wanted to again thank you for your support this year, and update you on our current status (some of which you already know).

Anne started working for Our Hen House in mid-May. We are both extremely grateful to Jasmin and Mariann for hiring Anne, sight unseen. Anne only met them both in person at the end of last month! Her role has grown greatly since then, and her title has been changed to “Director of Operations." She is working to help Our Hen House expand. (For example: she put together their largest end-of-year matching challenge pool ever. It will start on 10/30 - Jasmin’s birthday!) She’s still getting paid for part time, but if the end-of-year fundraiser goes well, she will hopefully be able to go to full time.

Matt started as Senior Advisor for VegFund in mid-September. We recently returned from the East Coast (the trip that allowed Anne to meet Jasmin and Mariann) for the annual VegFund summit. There, Matt met the staff and Board (most for the first time). He’ll be working to increase VegFund’s visibility and income, so as to help expand and refine VegFund’s cutting-edge grassroots work.

Matt’s lung continues to heal, with the pain generally being very manageable. But he won’t be travelling alone again any time soon!

As always, Ellen is doing great at Pomona College. In addition to cross country and her various clubs, she’s spending more time in labs -- for two classes and working in her advisor’s lab twice a week. She is also an official tutor for other classes! Her web comic -- www.thescienceoffandom.com -- continues to cover interesting topics and gain followers.

As per our new jobs, there are several lessons we’ve learned in our decades of activism that makes these positions a great fit for us both and for the animals.

Ever since we were hand-collating, folding, and stapling booklets a lifetime ago, the world has been changing and evolving. To do our best for the animals, we must change and evolve as well. We need to take advantage of new opportunities and technologies as they arise, so we can help more and more people take the first step -- and then the next step -- to help animals. Video, podcasts, television, online, and even sampling tasty, familiar, cruelty-free foods -- these are all opportunities unavailable to us 20+ years ago (we shudder to think what would have happened if we had offered people a 1990 veggie burger!).

Now, however, all these new options allow us to reach more people in a much more powerful, lasting way.

Just as importantly, we realize that just tossing the message out to the public isn’t enough. We need to provide people a stream of information and encouragement, and the ability to be a part of a supportive community. It is amazing to us (just to give one example) how many individuals are so incredibly committed to Our Hen House. Not only did Jasmin and Mariann change their life with a podcast or article, but being a member of the Flock also provides so many with the support and friendship they need to stay vegetarian, or evolve to being vegan, or take the first step as an activist.

Your support and friendship has helped us to take our next steps for the animals. We appreciate it more than we can ever express.

Our sincerest thanks,

For the animals,

Anne and Matt

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