Charity of the Month | Blackberry Creek Animal Sanctuary
by Sica Schmitz | Posted on August 01 2016
Helping others is at the foundation of Bead & Reel and so each month we Give Back a portion of each sale to a new, worthy cause. As a vegan-owned, all vegan company, one of our goals is to promote kindness towards animals so we were thrilled to discover the new Blackberry Creek Animal Farm Sanctuary.
With a motto of simply, "Love one another," this Northern California haven was founded in November of 2014 by two middle school teachers who wanted to pair their love of animals and their concern for students to create a more compassionate world. By partnering children and adults who have suffered loss, trauma, neglect, or loneliness with animals who have experienced the same, friendships, healing, and compassion are born.
We spoke to co-founder Danielle about an inspiring pig, her favorite plant based recipe, and how each of us can use our love animals to create a better world.
What is your favorite part of working at Blackberry Creek Animal Farm Sanctuary?
The best part about working at the sanctuary is knowing that I am directly impacting the lives of animals in a positive way, not only by caring for our rescued residents, but by educating people about a vegan lifestyle, I am saving thousands more animals than I could ever house within our gates.
Animal rescue can be filled with devastating stories, what's one that keeps you uplifted?
One animal who is very near and dear to our hearts is Po, the pig. Po was rescued in April from a cruelty case of horrendous proportions in Washington state. He lived years in a windowless barn with a floor covered in about a foot of mud and feces. Piglets would literally drown in the muck and the pigs were not given proper food, in some cases given only the carcasses of their dead pig friends as an alternative to starving. It was unspeakable cruelty. Po has severe spinal injuries as a result of improper care and tail docking but is be sweetest, kindest animal you'll ever meet. He charms everyone who comes to the sanctuary and is a perfect ambassador for the billions of pigs slaughtered annually for human enjoyment.
How can someone come meet your animals?
Besides regular visitor days, our next event is Llamas and Pajamas on October 8th, 2016. At this family event, everyone shows up in their pj's, meets the animals, roasts some vegan marshmallows, listens to a storyteller and watches a movie under the stars. This year's film? "Babe, the Gallant Pig!"
For animal-lovers who aren't able to visit, how else can they help Blackberry Creek Sanctuary?
If people live outside of NorCal, there are still many great ways they can help! Cutting animal products out of both diet and fashion is huge and saves over 100 animals per year, not to mention all the great benefits to your health and the environment. Also, liking our Facebook and Instagram pages and sharing and liking posts frequently helps those posts to appear more often in other people's feeds and encourages them to become educated about our mission and to support our work as well!
Additionally, becoming a monthly donor is easy no matter where you live, because it is all through PayPal online. These critical monthly donations help us to cover the food, shelter, and medical care of our animal residents, allow us to plan to save more animals, and help us with taking our programs to local schools in the community.
If supporters would rather give a specific item, we have an Amazon for the sanctuary in general and one for the Book Barn project as well. Bert's Book Barn (named after our late llama, Bert) will bring kids and animals together by allowing children to have a place to read to an animal friend. This will encourage literacy in our community and will teach compassion as well. We are trying to raise about $5,000 more to make his a reality before or Christmas event!
What's your favorite easy vegan recipe?
Our favorite vegan summer lunch recipe is an easy mock chicken salad!
1 block of extra firm tofu
Chopped red onion
1/2 c walnuts
1/2 c sliced red grapes
1/3 c Veganaise (more or less depending on preference)
Dill, salt, pepper, & garlic powder to taste
Pinch of nutritional yeast
All on sourdough bread!
We're also obsessed with the So Delicious cashew ice cream scooped into balls and rolled in toasted coconut then drizzled with chocolate!
How can time with animals help people who are experienced loss or trauma?
When people go through trauma in life, various outcomes occur. The same is true of animals. Something magical happens when an animal who has escaped an abusive or neglectful situation comes into contact with a person who has experienced trauma. Animals have the ability to calm those who suffer from PTSD by offering them consistency and unconditional love. They are able to soothe grief by showing people how to live in the moment and appreciate the present beauty of life. They can offer a listening ear to someone who needs to cope with their abusive past by talking about it, but doesn't feel comfortable talking to another human person.
Animals are able to be patient listeners, withholding judgement, so that the individual feels he or she has been heard and is cared for. Finally, animals have the incredible ability to learn to trust, love, and allow others to love them even after going through hell and back at the hands of humans. This is a powerful model of trust and new beginnings that speaks to all of us who have ever wanted a fresh start.
When people see themselves in the eyes of these animals, they frequently give up animal products, realizing that they wish to case no harm to other living beings.
What does Blackberry Creek Sanctuary need the most help with right now from the public? How can we all help?
Currently, Blackberry Creek is in need of regular monthly donors (even $5 per family goes such a long way!) and regular weekly and monthly volunteers. A steady increase in these two commitments means that our humane education and outreach programs will grow.