It’s a red alert call out to the community for help from Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam. Known by some as the little farm that can, Ray of Light may be in jeopardy of losing its light if the necessary funds cannot be raised.
Currently, the 35 plus acre farm is home to rescued animals of all shapes and sizes from a potbellied pig, a middle aged parrot, desert tortoises, a herd of miniature to draft sized horses, donkeys, mules, a zdonk (a zebra and a donkey cross) sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, guinea pigs and more.
With an expiring lease and a possible sale of the property, the farm is in dire need of a “ray of light” at the end of this long uncertain tunnel.
The current lease will keep the farm safe until February of 2015. At that time, if the necessary money for the purchase of the farm is not raised, it is almost certain the property will be sold leaving a devastating crevice the community.
Founder of Ray of Light, Bonnie Buongiorne is asking for everyone’s help, so that does not happen.
“In an attempt to secure our future, we are launching our new “Keep the Light Shining Campaign,” with the ultimate goal of staying in our current location well into the distant future,” explains Buongiorne. “This will require obtaining substantial funding – near the amount of $1.5 million for our realty and endowment fund.”
She adds, “Really we only have one of four options; raise the funds to purchase the property, raise funds to face a significant rent increase and contract for a
long-term lease, move to another property and hope to keep our mission alive elsewhere, or worst case dissolve Ray of Light.”
The farm, which is a non-profit founded in 2004, is deeply dedicated to animal rescue ananimal assisted therapy, committed to helping people make a positive connection with life through animals.
Starting young, Ray of Light provides a safe, nurturing, environment where as soon as they can walk, children are invited to come learn about, touch, feel, feed, laugh with and ride on animals; animals with feathers, fur, hair, horns, hooves, shells and more.
Appropriately named, this program, which is almost a decade old, is Tiny Trotters and for a little more than an hour on Tuesday and Friday mornings, children from all over come together to experience farm life up close and personal, complete with a snack, a craft, a story and a pony ride.
For adult animal lovers, once a month the farm plays host to Filly Night; tagged as a fun girls’ night out with horses and potluck dinner, this evening is fueled with a “get out there and try”. This program is an exciting, bonding way for women of all ages to come together, learn how to ride or just enjoy riding for a night.
In addition, Ray of Light has become a beacon of holiday celebrations with the annual Easter Egg Hunt, the Not So Scary Halloween Hay Ride and the yearly Winter Wonderland event. Birthday parties are also held throughout the year in the very special party room and the barn plays host to school field trips, as well as internationally attended horse clinics and more.
Ray of Light, which is PATH certified for its therapeutic riding program, also offers boarding and riding lessons in all disciplines, for all ages and experience levels.
In addition to all this, each year the barn acts as a safe haven for animals in
need. Instrumental in pairing animals with their forever homes, this place has
become a well known point of reference for animals who have no place else to
“Each month I would say we get at least ten to twelve phone calls about animals that need placement or need to be rescued from their current environment,” explains Buongiorne. “It kills us to have to say no, so we try our best not to and if we can’t house them here we try to find foster homes for them, or at the very least, get them in touch with others who can help them.”
The good and good hearted deeds this barn, which Buongiorne says “scratched its way from the bottom up to become what it is today” has done over the years is endless and now they need your help to keep on keeping.
“It will take an army, but you can help create that army by spreading the word that we need help. We ask that each person that reads this donate $10 and ask 10 others to do the same,” shares Buongiorne who already sent out a need for donations alert on Ray of Light’s Facebook page, which yielded a quick $750 of donations in response. “We will do whatever we need to raise these funds and we really hope that the large community which we serve, will support us and help us remain in our home bringing animals and people together.
Buongiorne is also reaching out to companies and private individuals who might be able to support in a larger way through contingency pledges and foundation support. So spread the word!
For more information on how to give a tax deductable donation to Ray of Light Farm, go to www.rayoflightfarm.org or call 860-873-1895.