Oregon Woman’s Charitable Legacy Celebrated in India With Massive Food Donation for the Poor

For Immediate Release:
April 15, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Springfield, Ore.

This week, a Springfield woman’s remarkable life and legacy of kindness and volunteerism were celebrated in India years after her passing, as PETA founder and President Ingrid Newkirk honored the upcoming anniversary of the birth of her mother, Mary Patricia Ward, by providing vegan meals to 1,000 children and women in need in a New Delhi slum. Mary, a longtime resident of Oregon before her death in 2013, lived in New Delhi for eight years while her husband served as an advisor to the Indian government and worked tirelessly to provide for those in dire need there, selling embroidery to benefit unwed mothers, volunteering at Mother Teresa’s orphanage, and helping people affected by leprosy.

During her time in India, she turned the family home into a refuge for stray animals—from street dogs to snakes. She enlisted a young Newkirk’s help stuffing toys for children, packing pills, and rolling bandages, telling her daughter, “It doesn’t matter who suffers. It only matters that they suffer and what you can do to reduce that suffering.” Mary later moved to Cottage Grove, where she lived happily near her garden and stream until her husband’s passing. She relocated shortly afterward to Springfield, where she stayed for the rest of her life.

“My mother’s life was defined by kindness and charity for all living, feeling beings, no matter the skin they were in or whether they had fur, fins, or feathers,” says Newkirk. “Her enduring message of empathy for all is at the heart of everything PETA does, and PETA encourages everyone to follow her compassionate example by leaving animals in peace.”

Every person who goes vegan spares nearly 200 animals each year a violent and terrifying death in the meat, egg, and dairy industries. Cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals killed for their flesh are forced to spend their short lives in crowded, filthy warehouses under the constant stress of intense confinement. When the time comes for slaughter, they’re crammed onto trucks and transported hundreds of miles through all weather extremes without food, water, or rest, causing many to die from heat exhaustion. At slaughterhouses, workers slit the animals’ throats—often while they’re still conscious and able to feel pain.

In addition to being a compassionate choice, going vegan slashes an individual’s risk of suffering from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. PETA’s free vegan starter kit is filled with tips to help anyone looking to make the switch.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—points out thatEvery Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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