The core purpose for the Freedom Farm for Vets has always been to support veterans in need, no matter what the need may be. In the early years of the farm, veterans were in need of furniture for apartment living, equipment for daily living and they had no where to turn. The farm contacted families of other veterans and families in support of the farm and collected needed furniture for veterans ‘getting back in their feet’. The cost? Pay it forward… give to your brothers in arms what you have to give when you no longer need it.
During the first year, a great working relationship with Mr. Mike Peck of the Lake County Veteran’s Association was established. A veteran was in need of a motorized wheel chair, and a manual one to replace his old one. The farm contacted Mr. Peck, who had one as yet unclaimed. The veteran had waited almost 2 years for a wheelchair to get him to appointments and get around his home. He also received a handicapped van to transport himself to the VA and beyond. He was charged nothing and was extremely grateful. It just took someone to step up to do some ‘leg work’ to make a connection and find him what he needed.
The families of veterans have always been considered as a most important part of our military. The wives and children are always welcome to come to visit the animals and the gardens, to learn about how a small farm functions. Although riding the horses is not an option for small children, feeding them and learning about them is truly educational. Horses have been an integral part of the farm since its inception and continue to serve all the veterans that come for a visit.
Active duty military from Great Lakes Naval Base have been welcomed for many years now. The 6-10 recruits come to help with ‘farm chores’ and are treated to a day out of uniform and a picnic of grilled burgers, brats or whatever is on the grill, chips, desert and a nap in the sun. These days for the recruits are special, as so many are far from home and feel like they are out in the country, even thought they are only 20 minutes from the base.
Along with many other projects, the freedom Farm has received grants from The Home Depot to help in housing repairs and improvements for veterans and their families. In one case, two bothers from recent combat, returned and were home bound. The townhouse they were living in had leaking faucets and structural issues. The Freedom Farm was informed of their needs and got the grant to get repairs done for them. During the repair process, black mold was discovered and the project, though much bigger than first expected, was completed and the brothers live in a safe an functional environment now.
The Freedom Farm for Vets was established in January, 2010, at which time they applied for non-profit status. The non-profit 501C-3 accreditation was received in November, 2010. The premise of the farm was to create a place for veterans, active duty and retired, and their families to come to enjoy the peace of a working farm. It began with a barn, built by a WWII veteran in the 1970’s, an organic garden and two horses. It has grown from there, with a focus to assist veterans, and their families, in any way they can. The successes have been varied and greatly appreciated by the recipients. In the next few months, we will review the programs and post available photos.
As always, your support for a unique and successful non-profit organization for veterans is greatly appreciated.
Winter is over! The Freedom Farm is back to regular hours!
Season Six promises to be a very busy year for the Farm. We started off by reigniting our Rose Program, delivering roses to our heroes at the VA (see the Rose Program page for pics from the Valentines Day deliveries.) Our volunteer core will begin spring clean-up starting with the Navy Chiefs on March 25th and continuing once each month throughout the summer season. Along with the Chiefs, the recruits from RTC will also be out once a month to donate time to help us maintain the farm and care for our animals. U.S. Cellular is bringing out a group of employees to help with the planting of our gardens on May 11th.They will be on the farm for the entire day, and we should be able to complete our planting at this time.
We have had a new group extend their arms to help us continue our mission. The VFW Riders from Kenosha Wisconsin is stepping up to raise funds by doing a Poker Run on July 23 (see flyers below). This group of heroes donated our new flags for the season (see pic at the end of this paragraph) and became our first $100.00 corporate members. We were also invited to speak at the VFW District Council Meeting. This support will go a long way in helping our farms as they spread throughout the country.
New flags for the 2016 season
We have been fortunate to partner with JAIDA Design Corp. a L3C company that intends to employ veterans and special needs individuals to produce the product line. This partnership will give the Freedom Farm a firm funding source with which to carry out its mission, helping veterans and our military & families in any way we can. Look for the JAIDA line in stores in the near future!
The Freedom Farm has gone through many growing pains the past five years. We have experienced turnover in our volunteers and Board of Directors, and this is to be expected in an all-volunteer organization. There is a true vision and plan for the growth of the farm, and we will stay the course. We take pride in the fact that we have spent every donation for our veterans and their families.
All of us who work to make the Freedom Farm operate donate their time – we have no payroll. These are special people, and we do it because we realize that we owe everything to these heroes, and that the highest honor a person can possess is to be a called a veteran. No vote or any amount of money can buy you that honor, each must decide to step up and serve. The staff and volunteers at the Freedom Farm respect and honor these brave men and women, and help them and their families in any way we can..
Stop by and pay us a visit or see us at the Wadsworth Farmers Market every Friday throughout the summer,
“If we don’t try, we don’t do.”
Winter is a slow time on the farm, particularly after the start of the new year. Consequently, we’re reducing our normal schedule to 3 days a week – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday from January to the end of March, sunup to sundown. If you’d like to visit on the other days of the week, call first to let me know, and I’ll arrange a time to meet you.
We’ll continue to help our veterans and families off the farm whenever there’s a need, too.
Stay safe, stay well, and stay warm. As always, to all our vets and their families, thank you for your service.
Season’s Greetings from the Freedom Farm
There were many new changes I was going to include in the post for the farm this month, but I decided instead to post this amazing story written by the mother of a true gift of a child. This story really needs no intro other than to say that all the participants are neighbors to the farm and have supported us from the beginning. This act by this beautiful ten-year old, and the reactions it generated from the adults around her is amazing and truly heart warming. Maddie has touched our hearts and has inspired us to never give up on our mission. THANK YOU MADISON. Till next month, enjoy….
Our daughter, Madison, turned 10 on January 22.
Madison came to us and said that several of her friends were asking her what she wanted for her birthday. She said that she really did not need or want anything because she received everything she wanted for Christmas. We asked her what she had in mind. She said she would ask her friends to donate the money they would have spent on her birthday gift to the Freedom Farm for Veterans. She knew that the animals would benefit.
So Maddie had her birthday party and raised $250.00 from the generosity of her wonderful friends from Kenosha Montessori School and Scamps Gymnastics. Last Saturday Maddie was so very excited to deliver that check to John at the farm.
Later that Saturday evening, we received a call from a lady named Cassandra. She explained she had heard of Maddie’s donation earlier that day and wanted to reward Madison with a check for $250 for her to spend on herself. We explained that was very generous however that we could not accept such a lofty gift. So Cassandra gave her the option to keep some, or donate some to the farm. Maddie, without hesitation, immediately chose to donate the money to the farm. On Sunday we met Cassandra in person and she came to the farm with us to present John with the generous donation.
Since that day the blessings continue to multiply. On Sunday afternoon we went to complete our taxes and Cathy Martin of Martin Tax Service in Kenosha generously told us to have Madison donate what she would have charged us to complete our taxes to the farm. Then that same day while my husband was at work, Captain Maccari of the Kenosha Police Department generously donated money to the farm and a beautiful challenge coin for Madison. Yesterday Madison’s Godmother also made a donation.
It is truly amazing how one random act of generosity from a ten-year old child has grown into almost $700 in contributions for the Freedom Farm. Madison loves her trips to the farm and we can only hope that her act of kindness continues to inspire others to help support the farm.
ZB News 3-19-15 page A8
We mentioned in our Thanksgiving message that we’re trying to help rehab a home for two brothers who are disabled as a result of their service. The Zion Benton News featured a story on this project in their Christmas edition. We’ve received permission to post this article, below.