GUYTON, Ga. (WTOC) -Non-profit organizations have been hit especially hard by the economic decline brought on by the pandemic.
Out in Guyton, Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Riding Academy is feeling it from all sides, unable to offer their service, while not receiving the donations that keep the program going.
Just seven weeks ago, Faith Equestrian was at a high point with its annual Hearts for Healing Gala.
“We were going along pretty good,” says Bonnie Rachael, CEO of Faith Equestrian Riding Center. "The schools were coming out, had a very busy year going.
But at no point could Bonnie Rachael see the situation her therapeutic horse riding program is in now coming.
“Well, the farm has to keep going," Rachael said. "We’re a non-profit that serves children with disabilities, special needs. And, of course, they’re at home, but the horses have to stay trained and tuned up.”
With schools out due to the threat of coronavirus, Faith Equestrian’s program for children in the Effingham County school system with physical, mental and emotional disabilities has been suspended. In fact, all riding classes have stopped.
But the stable with live animals is not a place that can be put on hold.
“When you’re dealing with live animals, especially therapeutic horses, they have to be worked with on a regular basis in order to be usable for our program,” Rachael said. "Having them come out with the horse handler and get their attention on them so that when the children come back to class, the horse is ready for the kids.
Rachael has had to keep her staff working, but with the economy as uncertain as it is, the donations that support the organization have largely stopped coming in.
So, Rachel is turning to the one potential source of fundraising still possible: a virtual 5K.
“It’s a great way to get people out of their homes, running around the house, running on a treadmill,” she says. “Get some exercise so you can stay healthy during these hard times. And also the money that you spend on your registration helps us to keep our doors open so that when we do start back on the backside of this, we’ll be able to.”
You can register for the virtual 5K on the Faith Equestrian website.
It’s $30 per person and four runners for $100.