Catskill Animal Sanctuary is a 150-acre refuge in New York’s Hudson Valley for 11 species of farmed animals rescued from cruelty, neglect and abandonment. Over the years, thousands have come to this place of profound peace. They continue to come — sometimes one needy soul, sometimes a flock of 100 or more at a time. It is their privilege to help each and every rescued animal understand what love feels like.
Programs & Retail Assistant Luca Haliotis says, “If we’ve learned anything from them, it’s the life-altering truth that, in the ways that matter, we are all the same. Animals are as individual as us, want their lives as much as we want ours, and experience the same emotions as we do. Pain, suffering and fear feel no different to a pig than they do a human being.”
This belief in our shared “sameness” is the first driver of all that they do. The second is their choice to believe in humanity’s goodness. Each year, thousands of visitors come to meet the animals and learn about the impact of their diet on animals, their health, and our ailing planet.
The Catskill Animal Sanctuary watches as profound shifts occur in the disarming moments shared by humans and animals.
They offer support through their vegan culinary classes, Compassionate Cuisine cookbook and online recipes, customized Sanctuary tours, engaging educational programs for kids, and inspirational writing and speaking of their founder, Kathy.
A vegan recipe for Cheesy Smashed Potatoes from the Catskill Animal Sanctuary Website.
The Catskill Animal Sanctuary is a big proponent of veganism, not only for the respect and preservation of the animals, but also for the environment. According to PETA UK, “a person who follows a vegan lifestyle produces the equivalent of 50 per cent less carbon dioxide than a meat-eater and uses an 11th of the oil, 1/13th of the water and 1/18th of the land.”
Haliotis notes that the impact of a Sanctuary visit on each visitor is immediately felt. “The fact that 94% of our non-vegan visitors say they intend to reduce or eliminate animal products from their diet is proof that what we’re doing — combining love and urgency, connecting people with animals, and supporting people in their vegan journey — is working,” says Haliotis.
However, taking care of these animals and spreading the message about how veganism can help us all take better care of each other and the environment comes at a cost.
“We're often faced with emergent veterinary visits for our aging farmed animal population,” says Haliotis. “There is also a financial impact when we take in abused/neglected animals who need our help and rehabilitation. Since we've been in operation for 20 years through all kinds of weather, the wear and tear of our infrastructure also requires attention and repair.”
In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Catskill Animal Sanctuary was not able to count on in-person visits to generate donations, but that did not stop the need to take excellent care of the animals and the facilities.
“We're an organization that is entirely donor-funded,” says Haliotis, “and it can be hard to reach new people in an increasingly digital world, especially when that world is constantly shaking up its algorithm on us and deprioritizing our content.”
The Catskill Animal Sanctuary team was looking for a gift to offer digitally to generate donations to their following. Our mutual friends at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary recommended Sock Club’s custom socks, as they had previously had success generating donations by offering socks as a gift to their donors.
Sock Club appealed to their mission and values as well. “We appreciated that Sock Club's products were more in line with our values as an organization,” explains Haliotis. “We found the price point very competitive and appreciated that the products are made in the USA.”
The Catskill Animal Sanctuary team had an amazing launch plan for the socks to boost engagement and donations! They held an online poll to see which of their animal residents would win placement on the design of their custom socks, and then held a pre-sale to generate buzz.
“We wanted people to feel connected to the process, and excited about purchasing the product,” says Haliotis.
The socks proved to be a huge success for the organization, and a great driver of donations and engagement. According to Haliotis, “we sold out on our first order of socks in a matter of months! It was one of the fastest-selling products we've had in our store.”
We at Sock Club are so proud to be a small part of the success of such an incredible organization. Visit their website at the button below, and donate if you can!