SNOHOMISH — There are days when it looks like little happens at The Farm Ministries.
The beds are all neatly made in several colorfully painted small cabins. No one is singing or performing on the outdoor stage, playing miniature golf, spiking a volleyball on a sandy court or taking a spin on the merry-go-round. A large white tent in the center of the property is empty. Only a few peacocks, goats and bunnies roam across the 4 acres.
“It looks like nothing happens here, but it does,” director Bruce Karr said.
The Farm on 92nd Street is often the site of events for local ministries and schools, a home base for missionary training, a provider of programs, toy and clothing drives for low-income children and their families, and a place where everyone is welcome, Karr said.
“We don’t look down on anybody,” he said. “The biggest gift we can give to others is to make them feel like they are wanted or loved.”
Karr, 60, started The Farm 14 years ago with a vision of making it a youth outreach center. He was waiting for a heart transplant and he said doctors didn’t expect him to live. Karr survived without the transplant, and the popularity of The Farm grew. Then, over a year ago, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. The Farm, he said, gives him something to focus on besides his disease.
“There are times I think, ‘Why am I still doing this?’” he said. “I have issues myself but by doing this I can think about others instead of just myself. I’m proud of what we do here.”
One of the most anticipated events of the year, he said, is the Christmas celebration for homeless shelter children and their families.
Last year, 550 people attended the “Miracle on 92nd Street” event. That was 100 more people than expected, Karr’s wife, Vicki, said.
Snow kept some families in need from reaching Toys for Tots locations, she added, and The Farm experienced more traffic after the party. Donations of new toys and money helped to ensure every child received a gift.
“We had the overage because of the people who sent us the toys,” she said.
The Karrs want this year’s Christmas party on Dec. 6 to be another success. To get there, The Farm needs more volunteers, monetary and toy donations. The proceeds from a country Western-theme auction on Saturday will help fund the party. A holiday bazaar on Nov. 7 will also raise funds for the event.
Volunteers meet at 10 a.m. every Saturday at The Farm to plan fundraisers and events to keep the nonprofit going, volunteer Patrice Wilkins said.
Wilkins heard about The Farm a year ago while standing in line for coffee at Edmonds Community College. She couldn’t wait to get involved. Now, she tries to get others to volunteer but it’s not always easy.
“I couldn’t get anybody in the summer time,” she said. “People were too busy. It was terrible.”
Only a handful of volunteers keep The Farm going on a regular basis, Karr said.
“It takes a lot of work and volunteer dedication,” he said. “Sure it gets frustrating … but we can’t let the kids down.”
No one knows for sure where the donations will come from or how many people to expect this year, Karr said. Local businesses have supported the Christmas party and the nonprofit’s Easter event in the past.
What he knows for sure is that yellow school buses will transport homeless children from throughout King, Skagit and Snohomish counties to The Farm on Dec. 6 and a party will be waiting for them.
“Once you see the impact on the kids, when you feel it personally, you know you make a difference,” he said.
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491, email@example.com.
You can help
Attend the Country Western Auction Fundraiser at 5 p.m. on Saturday at The Farm, 11212 92nd St. SE, Snohomish. Dinner for $15 a plate, silent, live and dessert auction. Proceeds benefit The Farm’s Homeless Shelter Christmas Celebration on Dec. 6.