The Farm carries on with ministry after death of founder

  • Fri Oct 1st, 2010 10:43pm
  • News

By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer

SNOHOMISH — Bruce Karr might be gone, but the ministry he created is not.

Karr’s stepdaughter, Jennifer Daniel-Steiner, 36, has taken over as CEO of The Farm since his death in the summer. Her hope is to make his ministry bigger and better.

The Farm Ministries Youth Outreach started its fundraising campaign Saturday for its seventh annual Christmas event, “Miracle on 92nd Street.”

This will be the first major event since Karr died July 23 of pancreatic cancer.

Since his death, donors might be under the impression that the ministry has closed, Daniel-Steiner said.

“Usually people donate money monthly, but most of the donations have stopped,” she said.

The nonprofit organization provides shelter and hosts youth camps year round for children in need from Skagit, Snohomish and King counties. At Karr’s last event, held at Easter, around 500 kids were present, the biggest turnout ever.

Daniel-Steiner has used her retirement funds to help with the costs of running the ministry, which costs about $5,000 each month, she said.

She’s been making phone calls asking for donations, writing grants and maintaining the Farm’s website. Most of these were tasks done by Karr.

“They shared the dream,” Daniel-Steiner’s mother, Vicki Stevens-Karr, said.

The complete staff is the two women. It has few volunteers. Daniel-Steiner cannot dedicate herself to the ministry full time due to a disability, but she has invested her life in this place. Neither of them earns an income from the Farm. Stevens-Karr went back to selling real estate but has difficulties earning income due to the economy.

“I am putting my whole life on the line,” Daniel-Steiner said. “I am running in pure faith.”

With the slogan “Keeping Bruce’s Dream,” the Farm is starting its funding campaign by hosting a book signing and silent auction starting at noon Saturday at the camp, located at 11212 92nd St. SE, Snohomish. Also Saturday at 10 a.m. will be the first of weekly meetings for people interested in volunteering.

Robert Wright, executive director of the American Anti-Cancer Institute and Karr’s classmate from Snohomish High School, will sell and sign copies of his book, “Killing Cancer, Not People,” at this event. Ten dollars of every book sold will go to support The Farm.

Wright and Karr saw each other constantly in Karr’s last months, Stevens-Karr said.

The cleanup has fallen mostly to Stevens-Karr, who is having a hard time maintaining it. She also feeds the Farm’s chickens, horses and birds.

Daniel-Steiner has taken a bigger role. She helps as much as she can, though some days she cannot get up from bed because of pain due to complications from an operation in 1997.

After becoming disabled, Steiner said, the Farm gave her a goal.

“It makes me feel useful, unlike I did before,” she said.

Even though the Farm is receiving fewer donations, it has received help in the form of clothes, Easter baskets and school supplies from businesses like Wal-Mart and Union Harbor of Kent. For their Christmas event, they hope to raise $10,000 and gather enough toys and winter clothes for the families the event serves. They also need to find someone who will donate catering food on Dec. 12.

In the past, around 600 children and their mothers have attended Miracle on 92nd Street, and another 100 families have come to a different event held about two weeks before Christmas, Daniel-Steiner said.

Daniel-Steiner only wanted to keep up with the work Karr started, hoping to just keep things the same. She’s since changed her mind.

“My dream is to make it bigger than ever.”

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com.

How you can help

A book-signing fundraiser for The Farm Ministries Youth Outreach is set for noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at 11212 92nd St. SE, Snohomish.

For more information, call 360-568-5120, 425-232-1271 or go to www.thefarmministries.com.