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Volunteer Shout-Out: Alyssa Foggia

Alyssa Foggia is a CAA volunteer who’s currently helping plan and implement our summer schedule of vegan food giveaways in the community. Read on to discover what motivates Alyssa to work for the benefit of animals and to support plant-based eating in the Twin Cities.

What prompted you to get involved with CAA?

I volunteer with The Humane Society of the United States and our state director recommended I connect to CAA as a way to do more local advocacy work around plant-based eating. I’m always looking for ways to educate and advocate, and CAA seemed like a great org to join to do just that!

Alyssa with dog, Bentley (who also responds to the nickname Tofu Nugget)

What volunteer work are you doing and what’s the benefit of volunteering?

Right now I’m helping to plan and coordinate some of our upcoming food giveaways — and I’ll be at most of them so I can interact with people in the community (my favorite part). As an animal lover and vegan activist, it often feels so overwhelming knowing all the ways animals are hurting — and not being able to stop the suffering. Volunteering with an organization like CAA makes me feel like I’m doing my part and actually making a difference for the animals.

When you are not helping out with CAA stuff, what do you do?

Outside of volunteering, I’m a freelance marketer and writer, part-time indoor cycling instructor, dog mom and plant-based at-home cook. 

What inspires you to eat plant-based and take action for animals?

After learning about animal agriculture and how the industry treats animals, and seeing almost impossible-to-watch video footage, I can’t stand the thought of my dollar going to support those industries ever again. So when I eat/wear/use vegan, I’m actively choosing not to support animal agriculture or any industry that mistreats animals for profit.

CAA Launches New Youth-Serving Partnership

CAA Community Organizer Tamuno Imbu has just built a new partnership to serve youth of color with The Link. The Link was founded in 1991 by two local Black leaders and former Minnesota Vikings players, Jim Marshall and Oscar Reed. The organization was established to help youth on the Northside of Minneapolis who were struggling with poverty, homelessness, getting victimized by crime or recruited into criminal activity. Grounded in community, The Link’s driving philosophy was to do “whatever it took” to help young people on the Northside. 

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Volunteer Shout-Out: Beth and Erik Sawyer

Volunteering can be a family affair! Meet CAA volunteers and mother-son duo, Beth and Erik Sawyer. They’ve been helping with CAA activities for years — embracing everything from handing out pamphlets at Grand Old Days to writing Postcards for Animals. Read below for Beth’s account of what inspires her and her son, Erik, to maintain a plant-based lifestyle and pitch in to spread the word.

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In their own words: Middle school students share thoughts on Bridges of Respect

Bridges of Respect provides free humane education presentations for middle schools, high schools, after-school programs, colleges, and community groups. While presentations have mostly been offered in the Twin Cities metro area, the recent increase in online learning has opened the door for Bridges of Respect to connect with students in other cities and states.

Recently, Shannon Kimball and Suzy Sorenson teamed up to share a Bridges of Respect presentation via Zoom with a 7th and 8th grade Health class in Pocatello, Idaho. Several students shared their feedback after the experience:

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Why visit a farm sanctuary?

An in-person tour of a farm sanctuary can be a fun way to have personal encounters with animals otherwise farmed for food. These up-close experiences can tap into our compassion and help us understand our shared sentience. Tours also provide insight into the dedication, ingenuity and resources it takes to ensure farmed animals enjoy a full and peaceful existence.

Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) coordinates with local farm sanctuaries within driving distance of the Twin Cities to offer tours. We do this to give you the chance to make personal connections with animals and learn their stories. When we begin to deeply understand how farmed animals experience the world, our motivation to protect the quality of their lives and embrace a plant-based lifestyle increases.

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Volunteer on the 2021 Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge Committee

We need YOU to volunteer make 2021 the biggest and best Twin Cities Chef Challenge yet! Volunteers will help add vegan options to Twin Cities restaurants and build excitement around vegan dining. Past volunteers have found the experience to be highly rewarding.

What is the challenge?

The Twin Cities Chef Challenge brings new vegan options to Twin Cities restaurants, which diners then rate. It’s a win-win-win as diners get new options, restaurants increase their business, and animals are spared through the addition and promotion of vegan options at restaurants.

The 2021 Challenge will take place in August. We hope to have all committee members recruited by mid-May and to start meeting by the end of May.

How can I get involved?

We will form a committee that meets every one to two weeks. Volunteers will spend 2 to 5 hours a week on the project. We’ll share the following responsibilities:

Restaurant outreach –Go to restaurants between 2 and 4 pm to invite chefs and managers to participate and/or reach out via email, phone and social media. We provide you with materials to bring. You’ll also drop off promotional materials at the restaurants prior to the challenge, and invite chefs to the final celebration.

Restaurant follow-up Make sure restaurants have submitted necessary materials (name of dishes, food photos, etc.) to prepare for our website and promotion. This position begins in June.

Ratings Create the Google form diners fill out to rate the dishes they eat and calculates the results of the votes using a spreadsheet to determine the Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge Champion. Help determine awards, which are given to all restaurants who participate. Begins in June.

Please fill out our new volunteer form or email Laura Matanah at  laura@exploreveg.org and let us know what interests you!

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Upcoming Events

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Twin Cities Veg Fest 2021

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Vegan Recipe Club via Zoom

Thursday, September 23, 2021

UMN Student Group Meeting

Thursday, September 30, 2021

UMN Student Group Meeting