First of all, thank you for your interest in helping out with The Free Vegan Cookout, we are entirely run by volunteers and without your help, we wouldn't be able to keep doing what we are doing. By working together we can help spread the vegan message in an effective and positive manner.
Should you wish to bring food with you, you can bring both hot and cold vegan food to the event. We have cookers that can be used to heat up food at the events, we will have pans, but bringing your own is a great help. Please ensure all your food is prepared with care good hygiene practices. Making people ill is not a good way to promote veganism! When it comes to allergens we try to avoid using them where possible, but if you bring food that contains common allergens please label them. Other than that just have fun, we usually have a good variety of foods on offer ranging from vegan remakes of classics like macaroni and cheese, all the way through to muffins and curries!
Our events focus on creating a positive image of veganism for people who may never have had direct experience with vegan food, philosophy or people. We are not trying to convert people on the spot, people take time to change and we must be aware of this. By giving people free food we try to break down the barriers that people put up when challenged about their diet choice. We ask people questions about why they are not vegan and if they would change, being careful to listen thoughtfully to what they say and not dismiss their views. By asking people questions we allow them to come to the vegan conclusion themselves, rather than simply asserting veganism. This is a very effective way of changing people's beliefs and is know as a Socratic dialogue. Ask people what is the difference between a dog and a pig, or ask people whether their taste is worth more than an animals life. Simply by prompting the person to think about the issue with a question like these, we can have a profound effect on their worldview. Most importantly we should show people respect, especially those who are willing to try vegan food and have a chat! Our events focus on the positive aspects of veganism and always keep a friendly, welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere.
Over time we have found that it can be difficult to juggle talking to people, handing out food and cooking, especially when it gets busy, so we assign roles to people, shifting whenever people want to change. The main roles are; photographer, cameraperson, speaking to the public, cooking food and drawing people to the event. Everyone is different and there is a place for everyone at our events, do not feel under pressure to take a role you don't want, you may be shy and not want to talk, but would love to cook!
That is pretty much everything there is to know about volunteering with The Free Vegan Cookout. Get in touch if you want to help out, we are open to all and welcome everyone who wishes to have. You can send us a message on the page if you have any questions about anything we haven't answered here. Thank you again for wanting to help out, we look forward to seeing you!