Posted on Oct 25, 2023
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
At The Gentle Barn, our staff wear many hats: From raising funds to managing operations, running social media, hosting tours and field trips, facilitating cow hug therapy sessions, maintaining the properties, and caring for the animals. While the maintenance departments are trimming trees, cutting grass, fixing fences, painting barns, and building things for the animals’ safety, protection, and enrichment, our animal care staff is feeding, watering, grooming, and cleaning up after the animals. Each rescued animal, however, needs and deserves their own individual attention. That is where our volunteers come in. Our volunteers help us love each animal, so that each one of our 200 rescued animals feel extra special and know that they matter.
We have volunteers on Sundays who are docents for our animals, telling the animals’ stories and helping our guests interact with them in the way that the animal wants. We have volunteers during the week that hold chickens, cuddle turkeys, pet goats and sheep, rub pig bellies, clean the yards, and top off water buckets. They are our eyes and ears keeping the animals company and relaying information to us about them. Volunteers help us with new animals, reading out loud to them, singing to them, meditating with them, and helping them forgive their pasts, learn to trust us, and get used to people. Volunteers are especially helpful when we rescue orphaned animals, keeping them company, giving them something to live for, and even sleeping with them at night.
October is Volunteer Appreciation Month at The Gentle Barn. In each of the three locations, we are celebrating their time, dedication, and hard work by throwing them a party. Vegan restaurants, entertainers, and numerous companies have come together to help us spoil our volunteers and treat them to a special day of fun in the barnyard. Instead of sleeping in on their days off, going to the beach, or hanging with their friends, our volunteers use their own time away from their families to drive to The Gentle Barn to help us rehabilitate, love, and care for our rescued animals so that they can have the very best lives.
When you visit The Gentle Barn in Los Angeles, St. Louis, or Nashville, please take the time to thank our volunteers for the tremendous jobs they do and the huge contribution they make for our animals, our guests, and the community. You will know who our volunteers and staff members are at each location, as the volunteers wear green volunteer shirts, and our staff are dressed in brown. It takes a village, and along with our staff and donors, we are eternally grateful for our volunteers!
We want to extend an extra special thanks to: Abby Posner, Beyond Meat, Brandon Greer, Bungalow 360, Cena Vegan, Christy Robinson Design, Climb, Dandies, Disney, Don’t Eat the Homies, Eco Sports, Free Spirit 520 Airbrush Tattoos, Justin Siegel, Lavender Communications, Maciel’s Plant Based Butcher, Made by Lia, Magpies Soft Serve, Mr. Charlies, MyChelle Dermaceuticals, Pacifica Beauty, Pizzahead, Plant Babies, Plant Power Fast Food, Pura Vita, Radical Rabbit, Sarcastic Rhino, Southern V, Sweet and Simple Kettle Corn, Sweet Hazel & Company, Terror Tacos, The Botanical Gardens, Toluca Bakery, Top Golf, Treehouse, Turmeric Times, Universal Studios, Unreal Snacks, Wanted Grill, and Wild Muffin.