Giving On


It has been two weeks now since the close of my Kickstarter project for the Studio at Sassafras Farm. Today is a banner day for a couple of reasons. One, Dave and Matt are here to start demolishing the studio interior to make way for the new health department-approved materials, and two, funding has been released so I can begin contacting backers for their info on rewards. (I will be contacting backers in batches this week. There are over 400 backers and there is only one of me, so if you don’t hear from me right away, please bear with me.)

Meanwhile, I feel a strong mandate for the studio–and for myself. To whom much is given, of him shall much be required. I had this little conversation with my son, Weston, just last year when he was given a full ride to WVU. In a sense, I have been given a full scholarship to open the studio here. On a personal level, my goal for the studio is to provide a second income stream to balance support for the farm. But within that, I feel a responsibility to take what has been given to me and give on, so on this “groundbreaking” day, I want to share my thoughts and seek input from you.

My thinking is two-tier. One tier is of the larger world. I would like to develop a short list of charitable causes that the studio can support. The other tier is more personal and local, such as offering free events and activities for kids’ groups (such as free farmhand days or classes for 4-H clubs, Girl and Boy Scouts, etc) and sponsoring projects to support my local community. I’ll be doing volunteer work in conjunction with the master gardener program, and that will also give me an opportunity to explore ways I can use the studio and the grounds here and come into contact with other people who have ideas.

But back to the first tier, of the larger world, and where you come in. I would like to develop a list of five charitable causes that the studio can support on a rotating basis with a percentage of studio profits. I have made the command decision that the Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue will be one of those five.

That leaves four more.

In the comments on this post, please tell me the name of your favorite charitable cause. INCLUDE A LINK so I can visit them and explore what they are doing.

There is no particular deadline, so feel free to come back to this post anytime between now and….whenever I post the poll. WHAT POLL? The poll! Sometime in the next couple of weeks, whenever I make up my mind, I will post a poll with 12 selections I have made from the charitable causes listed on this post–and you will vote to choose four out of the 12. The four causes with the most votes will make the studio’s charities list.

So, for now, let me know your favorite charitable cause!

The Studio at Sassafras Farm is in itself a gift–and I want you to be part of deciding how your gift will keep giving. THANK YOU.


  1. cinderbama says:

    The United States Serviceman’s Organization (USO). As a former Army wife and current Navy mom I know first hand how incredibly important the USO can be for active duty, reserves, retired, and disabled service personnel and their families.

  2. UlrikeDG says:

    1) Fisher House Foundation: Like Ronald McDonald House for military families. “There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment. Annually, the Fisher House program serves more than 12,000 families, and have made available over three million days of lodging to family members since the program originated in 1990… No family pays to stay at any Fisher House!” (

  3. Katharina says:

    Giving back is the best way to keep income coming in! My favorite charity is World Vision, but more specifically, I enjoy buying animals for families. It changes their lives and their ability to have income and food on the table. A great opportunity to help people start their own little farms in far away and hungry places.

    Here is the link for the World Vision animal gifts.

    They have a very good stewardship rating, higher than most.

  4. UlrikeDG says:

    2) Heifer International: You know the old saying about teaching a man to fish vs giving him a fish? Well Heifer takes that to a whole new level. “Give not a cup, but a cow” They teach people to care for goats, bees, water buffalo, sheep, chickens, ducks, camels, llamas, and more. They get families started with an initial gift of animals, and those families not only gain food an income, but they also pay-it-forward, sharing their livestock’s offspring with their neighbors. I cannot do this amazing organization justice. Read their history for yourself (

  5. Centauress says:

    That is wonderful! One of my favorite charity is Heifer International. I like how they empower people families and communities to be self-reliant and sustainable. They also ask that people pass on the gift. Which I think is a great way to keep the benefit spreading.
    The link is

  6. Blessings says:

    My choice which seems most fitting under the circumstances is “Dress For Success”..which is women helping women in business!!!
    Although they ask for clothing and such donations they also will happily take cash donations for education…
    Suzanne, when you research this Non Profit Organization keep in mind each state has a Dress for Success so you would find one closest to your area…

  7. Snapper119 says:

    I love what I see happening at my local Love Inc. thrift store, and what the organization stands for:

  8. GrammieEarth says:

    Check out

    How It Works
    1 Choose a borrower
    2 Make a loan
    3 Get repaid
    4 Repeat!

  9. artgal says:

    I’m a big supporter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They provide information and support for newly diagnosed patients as well as funding major research for new treatments.

  10. prvrbs31gal says:

    As previous posters recommended, the USO and Fisher House are amazing organizations, as is LoveInc (I used to volunteer with a group when we lived in IL.)

    But my suggestion would be the Educational Fund of your local and/or state Beekeeping group, if they have such a fund. I know my group is very active in setting up booths at local events, and many times that comes with a cost.

  11. Eva says:

    I realize you may need diversity in the five, but how about the shelter and clinic that has been steadfast in CoCo’s recovery? Could you have afforded the services if the vet fees were charged in a traditional manner? Are there many others who benefit from this group?

    They appear to be working hard for this who cannot speak.

  12. dgkritch says:

    Another vote for Heifer International!

  13. Miss Judy says:

    Everyone mentioned sounds wonderful…you’re going to have a hard time choosing!Heifer International or World vision are good picks and would get my vote.

  14. Leah's Mom says:

    Another vote for Heifer.

    The link is

  15. Leila says:

    The American Red Cross helps families prepare for and recover from disasters, which could happen to anyone at any time. I can’t think of a more important cause.

  16. djbrown says:

    I love all the ideas – Heifer International has always been near to my heart, and I really like the idea of

    But for me just working with the local kids is good enough. 4H does seem to fit with your situation.

    What ever you do, make sure you have fun!

  17. tinamanley says:

    I worked with many NGO’s as a mission consultant for over 30 years. The one that makes the biggest difference in peoples’ lives is Heifer Project International. Instead of just giving a fish, they teach people to fish. In developing countries and here in the USA, their self-development projects directly involve the people they are helping. My Christmas presents for many years have been gifts to HPI.

  18. zshawn says:

    Heifer is great and so is Kickstarter!

  19. TW says:

    Very exciting that it’s time to get started…and the guys are there to get it going! I think it’s a great plan to “give back” and to involve your readers. Here’s the charity my husband I have supported for a long time: We support children through CRF and can stay connected with the individual children we “adopt”.
    Thank you for your generous spirit! Best of luck in this next stage of your project.

  20. Donna says:

    May I humbly recommend the West Virginia Cemetery Preservation Association: – my husband and I started this non-profit organization nearly 10 years ago after discovering that one of his family burial grounds had been destroyed by a coal company operation, without any effort to contact next of kin to move the bodies of their ancestors, with tombstones scattered over nearby hillsides. His branch of the family had moved away from the area generations before, moving west like so many of our West Virginia ancestors, and had left the care of the graveyard to those left behind. When we returned a hundred years later, all we found of the ‘rediscovered’ graveyard was an overgrown slag pile, rusted mining equipment, and stories from local old-timers of what they remembered was there before the mine took over. Over the years have been able to help many, many families find and rescue their old family burial grounds from being lost from neglect, photographed over 10,000 (I quit counting years ago!) tombstones and are posting them online free of charge for family genealogists to use before the stones are no longer legible from age or vandalism.


  21. CindyP says:

    Yay for Dave and Matt!!

    Paying it forward 🙂 One organization I’ve seen popping up a lot and I think is a wonderful idea is Cleaning for a Reason.

    “Fighting cancer is difficult enough, but living with it is even tougher and that’s where Cleaning For A Reason steps in. As a nonprofit serving the entire United States and Canada, we partner with maid services to offer professional house cleanings to help women undergoing treatment for cancer, any type of cancer.”

  22. patricialynn says:

    I was pleased to see someone already mention pit-positive organizations like I own a pitty, and I foster abused dogs and cats, so I like the idea of supporting such a group.

    However, it wasn’t my first thought. My very first thought was that one of the things you should support is other people on! After all, the site and the wonderful people on it helped you get where you are, and it seems like karma to pay it forward and support others who are trying to fulfill their dreams, just like you were.

    You actually inspired me and I was about to start a kickstarter page myself, to help get my at-home daycare up and running (I don’t even need an even thousand, so figured help might come quickly). But before I could finalize my plans, I did some sort of serious damage to my back and am now spending hours each week in doctor’s offices, getting x-rays and MRI’s, and sleeping hard due to side effects of the pain medications they put me on until they come up with a diagnosis. Haven’t given up on the dream, but out of necessity I’ve put it on the back burner. 😥

    Oh, another thought, though this one is non-specific…but is there a battered women’s shelter in your area that could use some funds?

  23. foofeee says:

    I like all the suggestions. I really like this historic Cemetery preservation as a historian. Please consider your local women’s shelter as well. I know you want to be global, but look closer to home. You can make a huge difference right in your own backyard that could have a global impact. Your local humane society as well. I know there is a national group but how much of what you donate to them really helps locally? If you want to go for the larger groups, I whole heartedly agree with the USO!

    Here’s a thought, after you get up and running, could you do a summer internship with the agriculture department at WVU? Maybe have a student in Ag come and live there for 4-6 weeks to work a real farm?

  24. pamplemousse says:

    I love this idea. What a great way to give back. I volunteer and fully support a local feral cat nonprofit called Feral Feline Friends of East Tennessee. They practice TNR (trap-neuter-release) and adopt out the domesticated cats and kittens from feral communities as well as maintain feral cat populations. However, since you live in WV, you should donate to an organization similar to this in your area.

  25. Donna says:

    Another organization that has been wonderful to our family after our sailor son was seriously injured in the line of duty two years ago is Wounded Warriors – the Fisher House too, as there is no way we could have afforded the 6 months and more that at least one member of our family was able to be at our son’s bedside as he went through several surgeries and rehabilitation. :clover:

  26. KarenM says:

    I would like to nominate I will let their website speak for what they do, but they are making a huge difference in the lives of women and children in the developing world.

  27. falnfenix says:

    I’m a huge, huge supporter of the Wounded Warrior project. Please consider them.

  28. bimmy says:

    I agree with donating to the animal shelter that helped Cocoa. There is also a local organization for me that I would like you to consider. Davis Oklahoma Animal Volunteers. These guys run low cost spay and neuter clinics for our county helping to end the needless suffering of thousands of unwanted animals. Currently they are trying to raise money to build a county animal shelter. The current shelter is a metal building with cages stacked on one another. No heat, no air. and only space for 12 animals. Their website is

    Ps. There is a Jr. girls scout badge that involves baking breads from around the world!

  29. bonita says:

    Suzanne: Some thoughts on your pay it forward:
    global: Heifer international
    personal: Phoenix Equine Rescue, and the rescue clinic that’s treating Coco or national great pyr rescue (
    local: local battered women’s shelter–can offer some farm visits, sewing lessons, even cooking and canning lessons. Just seeing a strong woman at work and making her own way is a gift.

    How about 5 years worth of support. Then reevaluation.

  30. amysoup says:

    My initial thought was the animal shelter that is helping Coco, so I agree with those that have suggested this. I also think that Dress For Success is a great idea.

    Proud of you!

  31. jinxxxygirl says:

    HI Suzanne!

    I wanted to let you know i awarded you The Versatile Blogger award! Just pop on over to my blog to get your button and find out all the details. You can read the little blurb i wrote about your blog.
    Hugs! deb

  32. whaledancer says:

    I was going to suggest Heifer International (, too, because it seems like a natural match for CITR. They not only provide livestock such as chickens, goats, and cows, they also teach the recipients sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry, so that it becomes a long-term solution to poverty and hunger. And part of the deal is that the recipients pass on the gift to help others in their community, just as you plan to do. They have a number of projects to help women gain economic independence.

    Most of my own charitable giving these days goes to organizations which fund research the cause and treatment of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), the disease which has left me largely housebound. That may be self-serving, but ME/CFS is shockingly poorly funded for a disabling disease, so funding research is largely left to patients and their families.

  33. FujiQ says:

    Suzanne, if you ever visited Austin Texas you are probably familiar with the large homeless population. As a homegrown Texas girl, I hope you consider donating to this mission that works to know and love street dependent young people. The man who runs it gave up his six figure job to dedicate his life (and his family’s life) to helping these folks overcome their problems on the street. It is truly a story about love.

  34. IowaCowgirl says:

    Here are my choices and the reasons I donate to them:

    1) Farmers Feeding the World. Starving kids do not deserve their hunger. Maslow’s Hierarchy says that this must be taken care of first.

    2)Heifer International. People assisted in solving their problems, not just getting a hand-out will benefit. I don’t love that 19% of the money goes for marketing, but it must work!

    3)Smile Train. 99% of proceeds go to kids in need; seen the photos? need more be said?

    4)Little Dresses for Africa. All that’s needed is shipping cost assistance since the dresses are made by you and me as donations. You don’t need to have sewing knowledge, just want to lift children out of abject NAKED poverty and abysmal self-esteem. and

    5)Feed My Starving Children. I believe the title says it all.

  35. pulsk1 says:

    Not to sound to preachie, but as more and more of our wounded Veterans come home, they need more and more help. I would like to suggest the Wounded Warrior Project that supports not only the veterans but their familys. It also helps them get employment. The VA is overwhelmed and these brave men and women need our help.

  36. STH says:

    I’m a big fan of Doctors Without Borders (, which sends medical personnel to poor and war-ravaged parts of the world, often providing the only medical care available. Their work is very dangerous, and the people who provide the care are real heroes and go where others will not.

  37. Cousin Sheryl says:

    Our favorite is the Salvation Army. They put over 90% of their money directly into helping people (lowest administrative costs of any national relief organization.) They are often first on the scene with “free” relief to those in need – and they don’t seek publicity for it. Some of the larger Salvation Army thrift stores also offer “dress for success” programs for women seeking employment.
    Cousin Mark in a board member for our local Salvation Army Thrift Store and the mission work in Roane County.

  38. fairwindsfarmgal says:

    Please explain the Kickstarter Program to me. We established our farm 1 1/2 years ago and are milking for the first time this spring. It is my goal to have a Grade A kitchen and milking parlor. Putting up the facility is doable but outfitting it with the required equipment is cost-prohibitive. Many thanks, Kate at Fair Winds Farm

  39. mb96210 says:

    Hi Suzanne–I love Heifer International as they do so much good and it is farm related. Second choice would be St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital but I’m prejudiced because it is here in Memphis and I have a friend whose great-niece is a patient.

  40. lifeisgood/ Melinda says:

    I can’t think of just one at the moment, and all of the suggestions others have made sound great!

    I would like to make two general comments though:
    1. Kickstarter reminds me of what makes America wonderful. The ability of normal people, most of us in an economic bind, to change the world one project at a time by giving someone the ability to improve both their economy and that of those around them. Free Enterprise is a wonderful thing!
    2. All of the humanitarian links are for great organizations. One thing that seems to be lacking in today’s society is the ability to reach out to those in need unselfishly so that their life may be better. If everyone would just reach out a little bit…it can only do wonderous things!

    I applaud you on this wonderful idea of giving back. It can do nothing but make us all better people for having been a small part.

  41. scollard says:

    The Puppy Rescue Mission, “Soldiers Saving Puppies – Puppies Saving Soldiers,” and . :snoopy:

  42. JustJane says:

    The Vet where you had Coco treated also does spaying and neutering at a reduced cost 2-3 times a year for Senior Citizens and low income families. He also reduced the cost of the surgery on my Moms cat and 3 days stay. She’s 72 ys old on very limited income and that meant the world to her. They are great people that care for pets & the people that love them whether they are rich or poor.


  43. Karo says:

    Heifer International has always been tops in my book. They also have a couple of facilities in the US where participants live in the conditions of various people of the world. My daughter went for a week with a church group a couple of years ago. She had to sleep in a mud hut, use a composting toilet (during her time of the month, poor thing) and eat cornmeal every day. It wasn’t easy but it teaches so much about how easy many of us have it in comparison to others. She said she was glad she went but she wouldn’t want to go again!

    You’ve already been given the link so I won’t repeat it.

    Also, I do like the idea of supporting the people who are nursing your Coco back to health. Any news on when she’ll be able to come home?

  44. Murphala says:

    This idea is AWESOME! And yes, you continuing to give will ensure that good things continue to come to you. I really believe that.

    A small group in my area regularly transports shelter animals from our overcrowded shelter to points east, where shelters are almost empty. They make a couple of trips a year. This helps lower the euthanasia rates. While I do not know of individual groups the ASPCA has an initiative along those lines.
    I don’t know how much of a problem overcrowding in shelters is in WV, but perhaps there are local groups who do similar things that could use the support.

    You continue to make me glad I found this place. :woof:

  45. knchock says:

    I already saw World Vision on here and I feel good about supporting them. We sponsor regularly through them and have donated chickens to the hungry this past year. What a great thing you are doing!
    -Kimberly in NC

  46. JerseyMom says:

    I’m another who would encourage you to put Heifer International on your list and if you hadn’t already chosen a horse rescue I could have named you half a dozen that I support as I can.

    I’d like to also suggest Family Promise. I volunteer when FP is in our area. They provide temporary living quarters and some education to people who have lost their housing (and also their jobs for the most part). It’s not a long term thing – it’s just meant to give them a hand until they can get themselves back together. The help is ONLY available to families with kids and every effort is made to keep those kids in the school they already go to in order to cut down on the trauma of becoming homeless. There is a Family Promise affiliate in Lee country, WV. It’s not just for city people.

  47. Cubzwin1908 says:

    All of the mentioned ones sound wonderful, gonna be hard to narrow them down. I second the vote for Kiva. So rewarding to give a hand up to those who need so little to make such a huge difference in their lives. Proud of you for wanting to give back.

  48. Jen says:

    What great ideas! I vote for military support, especially for the families back home. I do most of my volunteering/support locally so I don’t know much about the national organizations except for Soldiers Angels – a group that adopts overseas military during the deployments. We’ve adopted twice & both were great experiences.

    The 2nd is called Cup of Joe where you can buy one cup of coffee or a bag of beans to be given to a soldier.

    Locally, I think your local 4h or FFA would be really great. Or look into a battered women’s shelter & see if you could do a retreat just for them – maybe tack a day onto your yearly retreat for them or leave a few slots open for some to come for free. Imagine how the experience could help women like this get back on their feet – all the great things they’d learn!

    I don’t envy you trying to decide who to help.

  49. CD says:

    I also support the idea of Fisher House & the shelter that has cared for Coco!

  50. VikingMiss says:

    There are so many! I have supporting Women For Women for years, but I also like supporting local needs as well. Consider an agency within your county or state?

  51. oddgirl says:

    I would like to suggest an unusual organization that always needs a ton of help, and most people aren’t aware of them. I volunteer at the Illinois Raptor Center, who cares for injured birds of prey such as hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, and vultures. They are often injured because of human interaction like being hit by a car, shot, attacked by a domestic pet, etc… These birds play an integral part in keeping ecosystems (like your farm!) healthy and vital.

    West Virginia has a similar organization called the West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center. Like our Raptor Center, they keep a permanent population of birds that have been too injured to be released back into the wild. These birds are then used as ambassadors in educational programs. At our Center, we sometimes host seasonal educational programs (such as owl camps around Halloween) where they will take a few of our birds to show to a group, teach them how to identify the birds, let them interact with the bird, and instruct the group how to make owl houses. At some Raptor camps, you can even be shown how to hold the birds. The educational programs are a HUGE hit with people. Most people have never been able to interact with a raptor. Heck, most people have never even seen an owl or hawk up close. It would be awesome for you to host, say, a group of Scouts at your farm and then invite the Raptor Center to come and show their birds. You’re educating the children to become better stewards of nature, AND you’re promoting the Raptor Center at the same time. Scouts are a natural fit with a Raptor Center….Eagle Scouts and live eagles. What a match. Not to mention any gardening organization, local Eagles group, farmers, nature groups, and children would all be wonderful groups to host and educate.

    Raptor centers have historically done all of the work of a local humane shelter and free animal hospital, with fewer donations, fewer volunteers, and much less publicity. Please give them serious thought. Thanks.

  52. xlibbax says:

    Yet another vote for Heifer International.

    What a fabulous thing you are doing by giving back – I am very impressed! Thanks for your stories and ideas; I look forward to reading them every day!

  53. LisaAJB says:

    Yes for heifer int!

  54. brookdale says:

    Habitat for Humanity
    As you probably know, they help build homes for people that would not be able to afford one on their own. They are worldwide but each state has their own chapter.
    Also, their ReStore has fabulous bargains in used stuff and new. Don’t know about WV,but here in ME they will come to you and pick up your unwanted building materials and furniture.

  55. SanAntonioSue says:

    Idea 1: Being from “Military City, USA”, I humbly request the Wounded Warrior Project please be considered. It offers various programs/assistance, both physical and emotional, for service members injured after 9/11. Many folks do not realize that veterans may not receive all that is needed, due to lack of government funding and/or red tape, to integrate into civilian life after a combat-related injury. It is an organization of veterans helping veterans. And there are sooo many needing help……
    Idea 2: Your farm would be a wonderful place for the wounded warriors from your area to come for some much needed “farm therapy” 🙂

  56. GrammieEarth says:

    Sooo many great ideas for giving on! I’ll be hard pressed to vote in the poll 🙂 So many deserving people and causes.

  57. Tinia at Lucas Farm says:

    Thank you, Suzanne!

    Your support for the rescue work we do!!!

    Thank you – Thank you!


    Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue, INC

  58. CeeGee07 says:

    My suggestion would be to find a local organization that helps victims of domestic abuse.

  59. quinn says:

    I take a local/international approach to charity support also 🙂
    I donate annually to local animal shelters, and also shelters from which I have adopted animals. These are not always local…in fact, one is in WV!

    Internationally, the Snow Leopard Trust is one of my favorite organizations. They take a very holistic and practical approach to conservation, working WITH local communities to protect habitat and wildlife while also helping people eke out a living in some of the harshest environmental conditions imaginable.

  60. rynsnn says:

    I think that one of the most important works going on internationally right now is the fight against sex slavery. This cause has just broken my heart. Abolition international is an amazing organization fighting to rescue and rehabilitate little girls who are sold into slavery as prostitutes. Amazing heartbreaking stories and work!

  61. LadyMau says:

    Rikki’s Refuge in Orange County VA! Some 1250 animals of 30 species have forever homes here. they even have a goat that would give Clover a run for her money. And cats, dogs, horses, cows, sheep, emus, peacocks, rabbits, pigs, and so much more! Programs for kids too!

    :sheepjump: :cowsleep: :woof: :snuggle: :sheep: :duck: :pinkpig:

  62. DebbieInMemphis says:

    I’d like to suggest St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay.

  63. Dot says:

    You might want to take a look at The International Rescue Committee not only rescues and empowers women, but also has programs that work with men to teach them to respect women.

  64. BuckeyeGirl says:

    I’ve been hanging back a bit, but I agree with the Fisher House suggestion, I know firsthand what a worthwhile thing it is and how much more it will be needed in the coming months and probably even years.

    I also love the idea of contributing to the shelter that has been giving Coco such good care, and/or what someone suggested about contributing to a new Roane County shelter.

    I’m also a huge fan of Heifer International or other similar organizations with similar ideas of giving aide. It’s a great fit with your whole farm plan! I love that they will provide cows and goats for people to milk, as well as other self sustaining livestock, the gift that keeps on giving!

    I’m also very thrilled that you will be helping scout organizations and 4H-ers directly. I hope that such local groups will be able to come to your farm and learn. :shimmy:

  65. lavenderblue says:

    This is going to be hard. It looks like you might want to divide the voting into categories. Like: Vote for one “women and families” i.e. Salvation Army, Heifer International, Abolition International etc., One Health Category: cancer, lupus, Doctors Without Borders could come in here. The Animal Rescue field would be covered with your support of your local horse rescue operation. And I think it very, very important with one of your sons in the Navy and the many Armed Forces moms and others that read your blog that we definitely chose an Armed Forces charity to support. I would be hard pressed to know which one though.

    Isn’t there a website called “Charitable Giving” or something like that where we could get information on these organizations? Has it already been given? I didn’t see it but I took an allergy pill and am feeling quite dazed and stupid so… That could also explain all the random spelling and punctuation in the paragraph above.

  66. leandjean says:

    I have several charities I like. But the one place I think it would be great for you to choose would be Kickstarter. That is how you got your chance. Wouldn’t it be nice to pass some on to a few other people who have deserving ideas, but lack of funds!!
    …..Just a thought…..

  67. Hugh says:

    I think you should consider supporting the organization that is helpin CoCo. It sounds like a worthy cause *&* it’s local.

  68. stacylee says:

    HUNGER is the “uneasy or painful sensation caused by a lack of food; the recurrent and involuntary lack of access to food.”

    FOOD INSECURE means that one is unable to consistently access adequate amounts of nutritious food necessary for a healthy life.

    Startling Statistics for West Virginia

    West Virginia has a 19.8% rate of food insecurity for children under 5 years of age.

    In 2008, 11% of West Virginia’s children under the age of 18 lived in families with income less than 50% of the Federal poverty line.

    Have you ever seen the stuff like Jaime Oliver does? Kids hardly eat when at home or in the summertime, hardly at all. Some sort of a school lunch donation for West Virginia public schools, or a program to teach kids how to grow there own food and give them some seeds or something. This breaks my heart, I will keep looking for something specific.

  69. stacylee says:

    This is and art driven program in West Virginia. They have fundraisers and local pantries and dinners where people in need can go and get food. It seems like a small organization that could really do a lot of good with help from someone like you, Suzanne.

  70. LK says:

    I would think that giving to a women’s shelter in your area and kickstarter are great choices.

    On a personal note, I would like to suggest the non-profit organization, Feingold ( This organization is run by volunteer parents and gives people the tools to lead a more additive-free lifestyle. Many of the additives today have a negative effect on the one consuming them. Some of the common effects of the synthetic additives are: behavioral issues, migraines, night terrors, road rage, tics, trouble writing, trouble learning in school, etc. Many have seen these things disappear as they eliminate synthetic (artificial) flavors, artificial colors and synthetic preservatives from their diet. We have seen this first hand. We have seen positive behavior change in our children. I have found the source of my debilitating migraines and so has a nephew. Night terrors and bad nightmares also disappeared in our home when we eliminated these things.

    We have now switched to a largely back to basics way of eating, cleaning and living in general because of the difference we have seen in our lives due to making wiser choices in our eating habits. Oh…and the food tastes SOOO much better when it is real too! I found your blog while pursuing some basic recipes to add to my collection. You philosophy fits in quite well with our lifestyle choice. Make your own “____.” Eat real food, grow your own, make your own, try new things, learn new skills. Perfect! :sun:

    In the UK and now in the US and Canada, positive changes are starting to be made to some of the food choices available in the stores…you will see “no artificial ____” boldly announced on the package. There is a change starting to happen in the schools with a push toward more natural foods instead of it all being so processed because it is beneficial to learning. It is refreshing to see.

    I am suggesting this organization so that you can be a part of spreading the word that there are drug free alternatives and answers to a lot of “mystery” problems that others have, that are really not a mystery at all. It is easy, inexpensive, and has no side-effects. I feel that you need to include a food-based charity, considering the nature of your kitchen. If you so choose, I am hoping that you will choose this one, because it has the potential to be a positive change for so many.

  71. Tina says:

    My favorite charity is the Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary in North Carolina. These wonderful people take in blind cats that otherwise would be put down and give them a second chance. I actually sponsor one of their cats that was abandoned by her owners after 11 years. This rescue does such amazing work and I hope you’ll visit their website:

  72. JeannieB says:

    Girl, you continue to amaze me, there are many good ideas in the comments above. I’m sure you will make a good decision.

  73. liz2 says:

    So many deserving charities have been suggested here, I cannot choose only one. I have to recommend The Salvation Army for their support of people’s needs in numerous ways & their judicious use of donations; Fisher House for their support of veterans & their families (to whom we owe so much for their sacrifices); and the Humane Society’s Veterinary Hospital in Charleston that has cared for Coco & will always need donations so they can care for other animals, too. In a side note, I viewed the website of Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary in North Carolina. I was deeply touched by this charity’s compassion for the kitties. So many deserving needs . . . . I know you will make wise choices, Suzanne.

  74. copgrrl says:

    I would like to see this organization added to the list:

    These are micro loans. My partner and I have done this twice to help women in underdeveloped nations achieve their goal of independence and supporting their family. Please have a look around and see what you think.


  75. proud mountaineer says:

    on the smaller level how about a scholarship type of thing for a deserving individual for the CITR retreat or classes at the farm.

  76. JerseyJenny says:

    I love your blog and farm… And this idea of giving back. My suggestions, aside from Heifer Int and the wonderful local group that helped Coco would be
    – The Gentle Barn:
    – Best Friends Animal Society: – my friend goes every yr to volunteer and they help all kinds of animals: small animals, farm animals, wild life, special needs, etc!

  77. JerseyJenny says:

    Ooh and I like proud mountaineer’s idea too!!

  78. Peaches says:

    I recommend looking into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They run what’s called the PEF – Perpetual Education Fund. It’s used for people who have no other access or means to getting an education or starting a business. Applicants present a business plan, receive approval and an appropriate loan. 100% of the loan is paid back directly into the PEF. The fund never gets smaller, and it grows through donations and contributions. Because the LDS is completely non-profit and run by volunteers, 100% of the donation goes directly to the fund. No admin deductions. The PEF funds everything from college degrees to purchasing a sewing machine for women to start a home business as a seamstress. Something similar to how the studio has been funded, but on a world-wide scale.

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