This post is part of #GivingTuesday's #WomenWhoGive series, which celebrates women who are making a difference in their communities.
Jessica Chipkin, President & Founder, Crate Free Illinois.
What inspired you to start giving?
First and foremost, my love and respect for animals inspired me to make as big a difference as humanely possible. Although far too much animal neglect and abuse is occurring in this world, I choose to focus on the factory-farmed ‘food animals.’ Sadly, they are the most exploited and least protected group of animals on the planet, and their plight far less known about by the general population. Also, there are currently no laws to protect these animals in our state. As a result they suffer mistreatment in ways that are hard to even imagine. And, unfortunately, most meat eaters have no idea of what happens to food animals before they get to the plate. From gestation crates to battery cages, we are devoted to raising consumer awareness about the abusive and confining conditions under which factory farmed animals are forced to live, and how this impacts our own health and that of the environment. Crate Free IL is making strides in affecting legislative change in the state of Illinois.
What does giving mean to you? Why do you continue to give your time, talents, money, or more to your community?
The path that my compassion led me to in order to give these animals a chance for a better life, was the creation of an animal welfare organization which I called Crate Free Illinois. I do what I do – with the assistance of many dedicated volunteers – so animals that are destined to be ‘food animals,’ are treated humanely, and that their only bad will be their last: the day they go off to slaughter.
What would you tell others who are looking to start giving back? Share a piece of advice will help them get started.
Follow your dreams and your instincts. Find your passion and don’t let anyone discourage you in attaining your goals. Seek the advice of those who have already turned their positive thoughts and ideas into realities.
Please share a favorite moment or story from when you volunteered or donated to an organization.
There have been many favorite moments. Our biggest rewards come from educating and raising consumer awareness at events in which we participate. All our volunteers enjoy sharing their knowledge and concerns about the far reaching impact this unfavorable situation has on our own health and on the environment. In that regard, we discuss the horrors of CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) aka “animal factories.”
We are realists, and acknowledge the fact that most people eat meat. We don’t tell people what to eat, but if meat is part of their diet, we ask that their meat is consumed responsibly, and we give them information on how to achieve that - see the link to our mobile app where meats and other products can be purchased from family farms where animals are raised humanely.