The founder of an organization that helps at-risk kids and rescued farm animals now has a firm deadline for finding a new home.
Keryn Denroche said Friday (May 7) that she received written notice late last month to vacate the four acres currently occupied by her Kindred Community Farm Sanctuary, located near 176 Street and 20 Avenue in South Surrey, by the end of September – “no ifs, ands or buts.”
And that means a quest for a permanent location that picked up steam at the end of 2017 has become decidedly more urgent.
Now, in addition to ramping up a search for 10 acres of ALR land, a campaign to raise $1,000,000 for its purchase has launched.
“What we (initially) spent most of our time on was seeing if somebody would donate land, or to partner with an organization that had land,” Denroche said of efforts over the past four years. “We never did a fundraiser to purchase land, that’s what we’re doing now.
“It’s been four years and we haven’t got anything, so we’re changing tactics.”
Kindred has been operating since 2008, initially as the Semiahmoo Animal League Inc. (SALI). Its first rescue was Badger, a horse, and the ‘family’ has since grown to include 30 critters, including a blind turkey, a colony of rabbits, cows and more.
Programs offered at the farm pair the gentle creatures with kids, youth and adults, to help them heal from trauma, cope with things like anxiety or simply take a step back from challenging times by immersing themselves in caring for animals that were rescued from situations of abuse, neglect or abandonment.
Those programs – which of late have also included sessions for health-care workers, with veterans expected next – would be paused if the worst-case scenario becomes reality: if land can’t be secured, the animals will have to be fostered out until such time as property becomes available.
But Denroche is optimistic fundraising efforts will be successful. In the campaign’s first week, $100,000 was donated; the equivalent of what’s needed to purchase half an acre, although not in Surrey.
“Surrey’s out of our range to buy, so we’ve been looking in Langley, and it’s about $200,000 an acre,” she explained.
An ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) site is sought “so it can’t be developed,” she added.
The current site, she noted, while slated for development, has not been sold.
To boost the odds of raising the full amount sought, Denroche is aiming to keep the farm’s plight front-and-centre. When the public is aware of the situation and what’s at stake, “people get fired up,” she said.
“They don’t want us to be homeless.”
That fate would be heartbreaking for Roslyn Rahberger and her son, Logan Gordon. The pair became volunteers at Kindred in January after Logan attended a six-week program last fall that matched him up with ‘momma cow’ Gracie.
“Instantly, he fell in love with Gracie,” Rahberger said. “It was heartwarming to watch them together.”
Rahberger said the changes in Logan’s anxiety and self-esteem that were unmatched by other therapies they’ve tried – not to mention the obvious pride he felt in having helped Gracie – and so she looked into volunteer opportunities as a way of continuing the connection. They’ve spent two hours a week helping out ever since.
“For us, it’s been a very good year,” Rahberger said. “We’ve been thriving instead of just surviving.
“I couldn’t imagine a life before all this.”
Noting that many people aren’t familiar with Kindred or what it’s about, Rahberger said she and Logan want to help “in any way we can” in the effort to find the farm a new home.
Logan has added a link to Kindred’s website to his video-game streaming, encouraging people to donate, and Rahberger encourages a connection through her Instagram account.
“Any bit helps,” she said.
To learn more about Kindred or to donate towards the new-home quest, visit kindredfarm.ca
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