A business model geared toward animal rights allows Lansing native Alison Eichhorn to become a voice for shelter animals in the Calumet Region.
Eichhorn owns and operates Early Bird, a vegan food truck parked in various Northwest Indiana towns during the summer months.
“I have been a vegetarian since the age of 13 and a vegan for the past five or so years. I have a passion for cooking great vegan food and a desire to show people that you don’t need to kill or hurt animals to have delicious food,” Eichhorn said.
When the Humane Society Calumet Area in Munster suffered a fire in 2013, Eichhorn decided to use her truck to assist them.
“We thought that Early Bird and the Humane Society had a pretty seamless connection and that our truck would be a great way to raise some much-needed funds for them,” she said.
The concept took off, and monetary donations can now be collected while the truck is operating. Eichhorn also occasionally holds drives for high-demand supplies in exchange for discounted food.
In the two seasons that she has partnered with the shelter, $2,000 has been donated.
“I absolutely love being able to have a business that is driven by my passions. Animals are amazing companions and anything that I can do to help support the animals that haven’t found their forever homes yet, I want to do,” she said.
Eichhorn is a 2004 Thornton Fractional South High School graduate and attended Loyola University in Chicago, where she received master's degrees in history and education. She is employed as a high school teacher at Lindblom Math and Science Academy in Chicago.
A Chicago resident, she enjoys knitting and cooking, and is active in the Chicago Teachers Union.