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.
Happy Easter from all of us at the Freedom Farm. May you have a wonderful Sunday.
Season’s Greetings from the Freedom Farm
This marks the end of another growing season on the farm, and a mighty productive one at that. With the help of our many volunteers and the kids from Kids Rank, we donated some 1500 lbs of produce to local food pantries, and almost as much was taken home by our veteran and military families. The pumpkins were also taken home by our guests in time for Halloween, and we’re still eating the squash.
We saw many new faces on the farm this year. Many of our guests suffer from PTSD, and found the farm a friendly place to visit. Some of our guests really became attached to our horses, and we recruited a senior from Kids Rank to help with the exercise riding of ‘lil Girl and Beau. Sara has been doing a wonderful job with them, and they look forward to her weekly visits.
We’ve been awarded a grant from the Home Depot Foundation in the amount of $23,200. This grant will be used to repair a family dwelling for two of our heroes. These brothers joined to protect and serve, and both ended up disabled due to their time in service. With the help of The Home Depot Foundation they will have the bathrooms refurbished and the kitchen replaced in their town home, which they share with their mother, sister and younger brother. We will keep you updated as the project gets under way. Hopefully, completion will be before Christmas.
The coffee pot is always on, so if you’re in the area stop by for a cup!
We at the Freedom Farm would like to offer our thanks to all our veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice on this Veterans Day. We try to do our best to make every day Veterans Day, but on this occasion that’s set aside for the entire nation to stop and remember, we add our own appreciation to that of all American citizens.
We hope all vets and their families know how much we all value their efforts, on behalf of a grateful county.