Gilroy farm needs help to continue bringing animals to visit people in need

GILROY, Calif. (KTVU) - A non-profit on the Peninsula, which uses animals to help people, now needs some help of its own.

Until they solve their land troubles, the bunnies, goats and ponies of Jasper Ridge Farm are stuck commuting from Gilroy to Portola Valley, where they provide their services.

The goal of Jasper Ridge Farm is to bring animals together, with the people who need them most:

sometimes sick children at Ronald McDonald house or sometimes veterans. On Tuesday the animals were visiting a group from the Haven Family House homeless shelter.

"It meant to me that I could actually touch animals because where I used to live there wasn't that many animals," says Anna Kingham, who is staying at Haven Family House.

Here there are bunnies, goats, horses and more.

"It makes me feel happy and exciting," adds another resident, Kaila Castillo.

And Jasper Ridge Farm keeps growing. They serve 1,500 children and adults each year. There's even a wait list for their Horse Buddies program.

So when their lease was up at their location in Woodside, they arranged to move their facility to a two and a half acre plot at Webb Ranch, in Portola Valley. The land is owned by Stanford University which approved the lease.

They raised money, got the necessary permits, but then discovered a major problem. To grade and excavate the land, wouldn't cost the $25,000 as they had budgeted - it would cost $200,000.

"We were stunned and horrified. But it felt like just one more hurdle," says Wendy Mattes of Jasper Ridge Farm.

And so the barn they bought, sits in pieces. And the animals commute to the Peninsula from Gilroy.

"We feel like right now it's beyond us. We need more help," says Mattes.

They're trying to limit the impact on the animals and the impact on the programs they provide.

But the drive is taking its toll.

"We'd like to keep them around," says Carolyn Hooper, of the InnVision Shelter Network.

Still, Jasper Ridge Farm is simply out of money.

"We are so close. The barn is here, the land is here," says Mattes.

And they're convinced, the solution to their grading and excavation problem will be here eventually.

"We have faith," she says.

Right now they're desperately trying to raise more money, while also looking for someone to donate grading and excavating services. They had hoped to get the barn up later this summer.

Anyone who'd like to help can find information here.