A local non-profit ranch for the disabled that provides animal therapy is asking for assistance as the pandemic continues to impact them.
According to President Beth Currier, they've been struggling to feed the animals due to the hardships brought on by the pandemic.
Rancho de los Animales, an 8-acre ranch located in Arroyo Grande, has been operating for about 39 years.
Those who visit can see ponies, horses, rabbits, alpacas, and many other animals.
"Basically, we provide a free ranch experience for all persons with disabilities and the public is invited, too,” Currier explained.
Currier says she built the ranch to help those, like herself, living with a disability and give them a chance to experience horseback riding no matter the circumstances.
She's now found the ranch in a tough situation.
She says the thrift stores she ran in Bakersfield and in Santa Maria provided steady income to keep the place running but they had to close their doors due to the pandemic.
"It tore me up. I loved the thrift stores. I love Beth. She's my best friend. I love the animals,” said volunteer Brydee Garner.
On top of that, the number of volunteers has gone down dramatically over the past year, leaving only about four volunteers and seven staff members to run the ranch.
"We are desperate right now for some help,” Garner said.
Pre-pandemic, the ranch would see about 20 to 40 visitors a week but that has also gone down.
"It’s pretty slow. We do have two special riders that come regularly every week right now,” said head horse handler Helene Lisher.
Currier says she even had to sell some of her horses to keep the ranch open but no matter what happens, she will continue to keep the ranch running.
“It’s really important to me that we maintain this on some level. Even if I am down to three horses and one pony, I still will be doing this. So yeah, this is very important to me,” Currier said.
To donate you can go to their website and click on the donate button: http://www.ranchodelosanimales.org/
The ranch is located in Arroyo Grande at 2756 Green Place.