Help Create a Veggie World

NINA CASALENA, VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR & CATALOG MANAGER

Nina joined The Vegetarian Resource Group staff in November 2013 and is thrilled to be spending her time working for a cause she believes in. Three years ago, upon learning how animals suffer for products like dairy, eggs, and honey, she converted her vegetarian diet to full-on vegan. "When I went vegan, I found VRG's nutrition information extremely helpful," she said. "VRG does a really good job of helping people stay vegan, which I think is really important."

Nina describes her job as a 'catch-all' for lots of different tasks, and enjoys helping to create a veggie world in different ways each day. She processes book orders, responds to mail and calls about vegetarianism, and coordinates with local and national volunteers. "I can go from speaking with an 80-year-old vegetarian from Boston who is interested in meeting more vegetarians in her area, to packing up 100 pounds of literature for an upcoming VegFest," Nina said. "One day, I was interviewed for a high school paper about veganism, and the next I was handing out literature at an outreach booth. There is certainly a lot of variety!"

Because VRG is grateful for volunteers, individuals get to work on hands-on projects relevant to their interests. "Everyone in the office tries their best to make the volunteer experience fun, worthwhile, and inspiring," Nina said.

If you are interested in joining us as a volunteer or intern, please email us at vrg@vrg.org.

MATT BAKER, VOLUNTEER

Matt, who is a nurse, volunteers with The VRG on Friday afternoons and at events. Exposure to the animal rights movement in his teens caused him to transition to a vegetarian diet, and since then, he's become vegan. "I've always been interested in ethics and pride myself on being a compassionate person," he said. "It was sort of a 'no-brainer' situation and I loved making the switch! I got a lot of inspiration and momentum from a good friend...She led by example, showing me that it's easy to use plant foods and products. From there, it was a matter of experimenting with new plant foods and cultivating my love for vegan cooking. It's been a great experience and an ongoing process of learning."

Matt began volunteering as a way to be more active in the vegetarian movement. "Anyone could have a good time working with The VRG. It seems like there is something for everyone — from creative writing to organizing events."

So far, working on The VRG Restaurant Guide (http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php) has been one of Matt's favorite tasks. "It's a really cool resource that I recommend to every vegetarian and vegan I know." He's also enjoyed the fun he's had connecting with people at events, like the Great Sage restaurant fundraising day, and seeing how receptive they are to the vegan lifestyle. "I really appreciate when people get excited about using the resources we provide," he said.

If you'd like to participate in outreach events, like Matt has, contact vrg@vrg.org.