VegRehoboth names Tara Sheldon new president

July 6, 2016

Veg Rehoboth, the region's social and outreach organization promoting healthy, compassionate and sustainable living, has announced a change of leadership. Co-founder and president Patricia Haddock is stepping down, and current Vice President Tara Sheldon of Rehoboth assumed the role of president July 1.

"It's time for this change, and I'm happy about it," says Haddock. "I started VegRehoboth, Rehoboth Beach VegFest, and Rehoboth ThanksLiving Dinner." "None of them existed when I moved here in 2005, and now it makes me so happy to see them thriving and a beloved part of our community. Tara has been a driving force in their expansion, and she will carry them forward with absolute dedication and passion. There couldn't be a better person for the role."

Sheldon, who lives in Rehoboth, is a longtime volunteer with CAMP Rehoboth and the Rehoboth Beach Farmers Market. She has also recently become part of a new joint effort with PFLAG and the Rehoboth Beach Film Society to address bullying in the community. In addition to her volunteer work with VegRehoboth, her day job is as a hospice social worker. A true community organizer at heart, Sheldon is looking forward to and excited about the possibilities that come with her new position as president of VegRehoboth.

Sheldon says, "When I first met Patricia, VegRehoboth had about 12 members. I quickly offered to host a potluck. I'm pretty sure all 12 people came. Since then, we have grown tremendously (now over 430 members) and have shared the benefits of eating plants through our variety of events and film screenings throughout the year."

VegRehoboth is not limited to just current vegetarians or vegans. The all-volunteer nonprofit organization makes a point of reaching out to omnivores and those looking to reduce meat in their diets and add more plant-based meals. "We take pride in being warm and welcoming to everyone," says Sheldon. "Every little bit helps. Every little bit makes a difference in creating a more compassionate and healthier world!"

Sheldon is already planning future growth and next steps for VegRehoboth, saying, "Plans for ThanksLIVING 2016 and Rehoboth Beach VegFest 2017 are already underway, and we're going to expand and create even more opportunities for people to lean into plant-based eating. Sometimes we don't think it matters that much, or believe choosing a plant-based diet is too hard or too expensive - it is always my hope to show how much it does matter and it truly is both affordable and doable! Even choosing to participate in Meatless Monday has exponential benefits to our environment. My goal is to increase knowledge of the benefits, and consequently change behaviors one step, one day at a time. The truth is, not doing so has dangerous consequences on both our health and the environment."

Haddock, who also co-founded Delaware Votes For Animals in 2010 and recently the VegDover organization, has no immediate plans to leave the area. "My advocacy for farm animals and plant-based food choices continues always," she says. "Just taking a breather to spend time with my family, including our 19-year-old dog Miss Jetty."

"Patricia has been an absolute joy to work with over the last few years," says Sheldon. "Her passion and devotion are to be admired and a reprieve well deserved! I have learned so much and will be forever grateful for her upbeat spirit and compassionate heart she shares with everyone in her presence."
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