Post: Annual Letter

“I am of the opinion that life belongs to the whole community. And so long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die for the harder I work the more I live” – George Bernard Shaw

Dear Friends, Supporters of our work (S.O.W.),

A baby chick held by a pair of male hands As you know, this has been a challenging year. Because of the physical vulnerability of many of the members who visit the Farm many of our programs had to be postponed so as to protect sensitive individuals who, if they did contract the COVID-19 virus, could have become very ill. Because some of these individuals live in group home settings the chance of transmission of the virus from one infected person to other members of the household would statistically have been very high as the virus is highly contagious, and could cause widespread infection and a potential outbreak in the community.

We did have a few individuals visit the Farm and all CDC protocols (masks, distancing) were followed. People could come and pet the horses, visit the gardens, and see the new chicks and baby turkeys. When they arrived in the summer, however, visitations were limited and the long visits had to be curtailed. But we did the best we could for our members under difficult circumstances. All in all, we are grateful for the opportunities we did have and it is always wonderful to see our farm bring smiling faces to those who come to visit, explore our fields, and enjoy the companionship of our animals.

A girl getting of the bus at Ephphatha FarmI’m writing to you, dear friend, to ask if you could help us continue the work of Ephphatha Farm and its community. This work helps to bring agricultural experiences and farm animal interaction to those who may not be able to access them due to physical or emotional challenges. Some of the challenges people are born with, while other challenges may be acquired through difficulties in life and circumstances. Either way, the journey of life, with these challenges, for these individuals, can be lonely and very isolating. Here at Ephphatha Farm. we welcome everyone, and through our understanding, our compassion, and the offer of a community where they can be valued and honored, we provide an aspect of healing and strengthen them on their journey. We give to them…but they give so much to us through their smiles, their joy, and their courage to continue. Our therapy horse, Bodie, smiles (do horses smile?….ours does!) with great anticipation when the wheelchair van from the Skills programs pulls up everyone disembarks greets him, and he neighs back!

Two people with Bodie the horse at Ephphatha FarmsWe are asking you to consider helping support this Farm vision — a place of acceptance, welcome, and healing. Please help us sow seeds of support, community, belonging, and value to individuals struggling in society.

Our expenses for running the farm are diverse and numerous: Feed for the animals, provide veterinary care, the physical upkeep of the stable, chicken barn, and paddock maintenance, pasture reseeding, and fertilization (we use only organic materials) are just a few of our responsibilities to keep everyone healthy and happy. We also have ramps in place for wheelchairs and walkers to assure access to individuals who are unable to walk, or unable to ambulate over uneven ground. Upkeep of these structures is done seasonally. We hope to add a deck in the near future to view the farm pond, and we are looking at the cost of construction to complete this project (hopefully) for Spring 2021. We are dedicated to the goal of providing accessibility to all who have to cope with physical challenges. It will take us some time to get there, but we strive little by little to achieve the goal of access for everyone.

A person in a wheelchair enjoying the two horses at EphphathaOur major fundraiser of the year had to be canceled due to COVID and we are finding ourselves running short. We are asking if it is possible to offer us a donation. Any size donation would be greatly, greatly appreciated. If you cannot support us financially, please consider sending us your good wishes, thoughts, and prayers, and come visit us in the spring (COVID vaccine will hopefully be available)!

In the meantime, please accept our sincere thanks and gratitude! May the Season of the Returning Light bring you and all those you love blessings and joy.

From all of us at Ephphatha Farm and Community, we are so grateful for all of you!