The goats, pigs, chickens, and donkeys at an Aldergrove sanctuary farm are going to be well-fed for the next couple months thanks to a $2,500 cheque from a young donor.
Matthew Farden from South Surrey handed over the cheque to The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary on his 11th birthday this past Wednesday.
Leading up to his special day, Farden made a special birthday wish to friends and family to donate $5 to The Happy Herd in lieu of gifts.
On Nov. 14, Matthew presented the check to Diane Marsh, co-founder of The Happy Herd.
“She first cried when she saw it,” Matthew said.
“It felt good, happy, and more useful than when I just volunteered.”
Matthew started volunteering at the farm five months ago and he spends about five hours there every Saturday.
He helps to feed and brush the animals, pick up poop, and lead tours for visitors.
Matthew’s initial goal was to raise $1,000 but within days of launching a GoFundMe campaign, the goal was met and donations continued pouring in.
The GoFundMe is still open and is currently at $2,915.
Matthew said he has no doubt the campaign will reach $3,000.
The most recent residents at the farm are a pair of young goats named Pudding and Smudge.
According to Matthew, “kids wern’t very nice to them but the neighbours saw and called the cops.”
And just like that, the two goats hitched a ride in the back a police cruiser to their new loving home in Aldergrove.
“They are extremely cute and nice,” Matthew said of the goats.
At the farm Matthew said he most enjoys spending time with the goats and a donkey named Baby who “loves to be scratched right in between the ears.”
Matthew’s mother Traci Farden, also volunteers at the farm with her son.
She said before volunteering at the farm, Matthew was looking to find his ‘thing’ as many kids his age do.
“[He] had a compassion and understanding for animals, so we found The Happy Herd to take a young person [to volunteer] and it’s really his thing and he’s excited every week. It gives him a chance to gain some confidence and give back.”
Traci enjoys the peaceful time on the farm with her son, and added it’s important to teach children to “give back to the less fortunate whether it’s animals or people.”
Initially the Fardens expected family and friends to participate in the campaign, but were surprised at the amount of strangers that also took part.
“I was very emotional. I just can’t believe how supportive people have been,” said Traci.
Traci added the family will keep the campaign up for approximately one week or until it begins to fade out.
The Happy Herd farm started 5.5 years ago as non-profit retirement project for Marsh.
She said the organization is run by volunteers like Matthew and Traci.
“Matthew is fairly shy, but put him in charge of kids, I see him just blossom.”
Marsh said she first met the Fardens while they were visiting the farm and joked “we can’t get rid of them, they’re family now.”
To donate to Matthew’s campaign, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/x74nzz-raising-money-for-rescue-animals
More information on The Happy Herd can be found online at https://happyherd.org/