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Maple Farm Sanctuary Needs Your Help!

Late last night I received this message from Jenny Stein . . .

concerned about Maple Farm Sanctuary, whose founders are two of the
seven subjects in our new film, and I was wondering if you'd be willing
to reach out through your blog to let people know that the sanctuary is
in a financial tight spot right now. As you know, Cheri and Jim are in
the early stages of setting up their sanctuary, after a long journey of
conscience that began with them closing their dairy goat operation,
then transitioning to a vegan way of life, and eventually, creating a
loving, lifelong home for farmed animals in need. Amazingly, they are
now staunch abolitionists (Cheri is one of the former farmers who
contributed to the Humane Myth web site). They currently care for about
80 animals, almost half of whom are special needs cases who require
extra time, attention and medical care. I'm including story below about
Willie (below), just one of such animals they helped this year.

Maple Farm Sanctuary is a charitable 501(c)3 organization that Cheri and
Jim have made tremendous sacrifices to found. They have basically been
donating all their waking hours for several years now, and have also
used much of their their life savings to buy food, bedding and medical
care for the animals under their care. The sanctuary runs on a very
modest budget of approximately $55,000 year. Right now is a
particularly hard time for them, as the sanctuary is short on funds to
keep its animals in food and bedding until the summer months, when
their crop of hay generates some income.

When our film comes out, more people will become aware of the inspiring
journey that led Cheri and Jim to doing what they do today. In the
meantime, I hope other animal advocates will join me in supporting
this sanctuary to help it succeed, as Cheri and Jim represent the
journey we hope more farmers will make, away from exploiting and
killing animals to cherishing and helping them live full and natural
lives. It’s been a hard, steady climb for them to get to the point they
are today, and in spite of enduring many hardships and setbacks, they
have not given up, and are still actively working to improve their
skills in running a nonprofit organization and sanctuary. The shift
they have made in consciousness is profound, sincere, and something I hope we can all get behind.

Written by a volunteer at Maple Farm Sanctuary:

I first heard about Willie the Saturday before he was taken in. I was
walking through the main barn with Cheri and she was telling me about
Jitterbill when she mentioned a downed goat that had been living in
poor conditions somewhere nearby. She said that she probably wouldn't
be able take him in, but even after knowing Cheri for only several
months I know her well enough to know that wouldn't be the case. Her
heart is so big that you can see it from space – I knew that I'd meet
the goat during my next visit to the farm.

The next weekend Cheri brought me into the goat barn to meet Willie,
and I immediately felt a warmth in the room. It wasn't the space
heater, though – it was coming from Willie. As I found more out about
his living conditions and how he ended up in the condition he was, it
broke my heart. I spent almost three hours in the barn with Willie that
day, just sitting with him and comforting him while he was up in his
sling, giving him the attention and care that he didn't receive at his
last home. After sitting in one position for too long, I'd need to get
up and move to another part of the room to get comfortable again, and
every time I moved Willie would start trying to walk and would use his
back legs to swing around in the harness so he could face where I was
and nuzzle his head into my lap. It was clear that Willie wanted
nothing more than human contact and affection. The attached picture is
one that Pete took on that first day.

Over the next two weekends, I spent more time with Willie in the barn.
It was as if when I was there that was my "job" to do on the farm –
just be with Willie and give him the attention and love that he didn't
get at his previous home. Cheri and Jim repeatedly thanked me for it,
but I was the one who should have been thanking them for the experience
and the opportunity to know such a gentle soul. Though Cheri and Jim
were doing everything they possibly could for Willie, I had a sad
feeling in my gut that was telling me that he wouldn't be in this world
for much longer. When I left this past Sunday I knew I wouldn't see
Willie again; as I left the barn I put my arm around him and gave him a
hug as best I could while he was in his harness and told him that
everything would be OK soon.

It's going to be sad going back to the farm without Willie there, but I
know that everyone else will miss his calm presence and affection, too.
I've had experiences getting to know a lot of different types of
animals at the farm since I've been volunteering there, but this was
the first time that I have felt so connected with a goat; I had no idea
just how loving and peaceful these always-smiling animals could be.
While my gift to Willie in his final days was the affection and time
that I was able to give to him, I can truly say that his gift to me was
the exact same in return.

I'll miss you, Willie – I think we all will. You are a kind and gentle
soul and I am grateful for the time that we shared together.


Please help Cheri and Jim and the animals. Their budget is so small–even $20 will help. Even $5. Their story is amazing and their journey took enormous courage, sacrifice and heart. The animals are lucky to have them, and we are lucky to have them.

-Mary (Animal Person)

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Damn. I've heard nothing but wonderful, wonderful things about Maple Farm Sanctuary and Cheri & Jim; I'm so sorry to hear they're struggling. I'll write up something brief and link over here later today from

    March 24, 2009
  2. Thanks Stephanie.

    Maple Farm Sanctuary is unique and beautiful. Situated a short
    drive from Boston on a pastoral 120 acres, Maple Farms is the future model for sanctuaries.

    rescued goats, pigs, cows, sheep, ducks, turkeys and chickens live communally and choose their own friends. These deep inter-species relationships show the full range of emotions that farm animals, and all creatures experience.

    No better education for our disconnected culture than that.

    come for a visit and help us to spread the word!

    I'm proud to serve on the board of Maple Farm Sanctuary.

    John Calabria

    March 24, 2009
  3. I had a wonderful and powerful day at one of their open houses a couple years ago. I'm most likely going to be moving back to that area this summer and have been hoping that I'll be able to find a driving volunteer who I'll be able to get a ride from so I can also volunteer there. I hope folks who are able to help out financially will do so.

    March 25, 2009
  4. Robert #

    We are taking a donation over tomorrow, and although there must be a website, it would be great if someone would post the mailing address for donations to be mailed.

    October 30, 2009
  5. Mary #

    Maple Farm Sanctuary
    101 North Avenue
    Mendon, MA 01756

    The link in the second sentence of this post (the green "Maple Farm Sanctuary") takes you to the site if you click on it and includes lots of ways to help on this page:

    October 31, 2009

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