Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer Mennuti

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Jennifer MennutiA few months ago, Jennifer Mennuti, the VP of Operations for a landscape architectural design firm, was tabling in her hometown of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, sharing free information on vegetarian eating. While handing out leaflets to hundreds of passersby, she offered one to COK’s Executive Director, Erica Meier, sparking a conversation about volunteer opportunities at COK!

Meeting Jen was great for us and even better for animals — in just a matter of months, she helped us add the state of Florida to the US VegWeek map by hosting FIVE events in one week, including two packed screenings of Vegucated and a vegan bake sale that raised over $750!

Jen is a dedicated animal advocate who finds a way to incorporate veg outreach into just about everything she does. Find out why and exactly how she does it:

COK: How did you first get involved in animal advocacy?

I became vegetarian in 1997 after seeing a chicken transport truck in Ft. Lauderdale on I-95. The site of the tormented chickens affected me so much that I pulled over and cried and decided to never eat them, or cows, pigs, or any other mammals ever again. For the following 11 years, I continued eating dairy and occasionally shrimp and fish believing that if I didn’t, I couldn’t be healthy. In 2008, I stumbled on some podcasts called Vegetarian Food For Thought by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I immediately transitioned to a vegan diet and lifestyle and then got into advocacy when a friend recommended that I watch the original Peaceable Kingdom. After watching that film, I promised myself that I would do anything and everything I could to make that horrific suffering stop.

Jennifer MennutiHow did you get involved with COK?

I ran into Erica Meier in Miami Beach while tabling! Before realizing who I was talking to, I leafleted COK founder Paul Shapiro, too—after talking with them I decided to start volunteering with COK and was blown away by their encouragement and support. The COK “TryVeg.com: Help end animals cruelty one meal at a time.” bumper sticker has been on my car since I first became vegan.

What’s the best feedback you’ve gotten during tabling or leafleting?

My favorite feedback is a heartfelt“Thank you so much for this information!” And luckily, I hear that frequently!  Even if a tabling event isn’t packed with people or you only have time to hand out a couple of leaflets, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of those few simple moments because the impact of that information can be huge for that individual — and for animals.

What would tell someone interested in advocacy but not sure where to start?

Start with leafleting. It’s helpful to team up with another local, experienced activist who can go with you a few times until you’re comfortable on your own. The COK website site also has great tips on leafleting. And some of the best outreach is simply cooking for friends and coworkers, or holding a feed-in where you can show people how delicious and decadent vegan food really is!

Want to join Jennifer conduct outreach in Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, or plan an event in your neighborhood? Contact us to get started!

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