LAGRANGE — Thanks to a very successful summer and fall, The Farm’s first construction project is well underway.
Crews have been building the organization’s emergency foster care house on property The Farm owns just north of LaGrange. But the group has a lot more work to do, said its founder Marge Malone, and is working to raise the money it needs to finish building two more structures.
To make that happen, The Farm has launched its annual fundraising drive, and the group hopes to raise another $200,000 by year’s end. The Farm organizers are asking individuals, churches, businesses and corporations to remember The Farm Project with their year-end charity giving.
The organization’s goal is to provide a safe and healing place children who have been swept up in the court system through no fault of their own to have a place to land and be cared for. In order to meet the requirements of a matching grant The Farm received from a national organization, it started building its emergency foster care house this past summer. The grant stipulated The Farm needed to break ground on the project by June 25, 2018. Malone said the biggest obstacles her group faced was finding available contractors. Still, support continued for the project, and the house will soon be ready for winter.
The Farm broke ground for the new foster care house on May 14 with a representative of 3rd District Congressman Jim Banks’ office reading a letter of commendation from the congressman.
Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch visited the site in July and told organizers she was impressed with the organization and its progress. The home’s foundation was completed that month, and by the end of August, the first and second stories had been framed, and the home roofed.
During a visit to Howe in October, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb picked up a Farm T-shirt and expressed his interest in the project. Malone said Holcomb asked her to keep him informed about the progress of the Farm.
“We are grateful for the support we have from the whole community and the interest of top officials in Indiana government,” said Steve Kooistra, The Farm Project’s board president.
“The board is now concentrating on the selection of an approved foster family to live in the house. That could take a few months” he added. “In the meantime, we will continue the final construction to the point where we will need to supply heat to the building and thus, start paying utility bills.”
The Emergency Foster Home is Phase 1 of The Farm Project’s building plans.
“In 2019 we hope to break ground on the lodge and the barn and field layouts. Our full budget goal is $1,200,000 to complete the building projects and set up sustainable funding for the project” said Malone.
It was Malone’s vision that launched the Farm and help create an organization that supports it. The Farm’s mission is to help children in need through animal interactions at The Farm.
“We do not have any debt, nor do we intend to incur any debt,” she added. “We depend on the generosity of people who want to help children who are going through the most traumatic circumstances of their lives.”