This Thanksgiving season, here are some of the things I’m grateful for:
— Two farm animal sanctuaries that played prominent roles in my life with Greg: Animal Place in Grass Valley, California, which inspired us to become vegetarian and ultimately vegan after a visit in the year 2000; and Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland, which we had long supported and last visited together just three weeks before Greg’s death. I am dedicating both my time and the financial resources of the Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund to help these sanctuaries save animals and educate people.
— The annual Thank the Turkeys event at Animal Place and Thanksgiving with the Turkeys event at Poplar Spring, both happening Saturday November 18 this year, where turkeys are fed a meal instead of being fed as a meal, and hundreds of people enjoy a 100% plant-based Thanksgiving dinner. (Photo: Animal Place Thank the Turkeys event, 2016).
— The miracle that spared Animal Place and its residents from the October Atlas Fires – although 1,000 chickens and other animals had to be temporarily evacuated from their Vacaville CA Rescue Ranch to the main Grass Valley CA sanctuary, before those fires were contained.
— The numerous accomplishments of the Animal Place Food for Thought program. Through the Greg Fund, I began partnering last year to expand this program to wildlife and environmental groups – and we have now completed a brochure, obtained the endorsement of 38 organizations across North America, and issued nine grants to groups that have newly adopted vegan or vegetarian menu policies as one more way to promote their missions.
— The incredible survival stories of individual sanctuary animals – for example, at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, a goat named Billy Bob who was rescued after a high speed chase, and a pig named Ellie who was rescued after falling off a truck on the DC beltway.
— Last but not least, I am thankful to everyone who has contributed to the Greg Fund since its inception. In 2017 to date, following are the generous individuals who have authorized me to acknowledge their contributions by name:
Kelley Grady Dunkelberg
Jane and Glenn Fisher
Ann and Tony Garvey
Shannon M. Gilmore
Joni and Paul Jablansky
Susan R. Johnson
Adam and Krisztina Kobor
James P. McWalters
Greta Nance Morris
Michael and Jennifer Nardacci
Elizabeth H. Ward
… and the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and Charles Schwab Foundation, which contributed to the Greg Fund through their employee donation matching programs.
I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!