by Debbie M, our hay bank admin
The Year 2020 is going to go down in the record books for a number of reasons. One of those reasons, unfortunately, is the record number of job losses due to layoffs or shutdowns during the global pandemic. This has put countless well-meaning people in our communities in difficult financial positions. If these people are also horse owners, they have to struggle with the added expense of feeding their horses. When horse owners are not in a position to properly feed their horses because their current money situation is tight, the horses, unfortunately, often suffer from neglect. That is why SAFE developed its Community Outreach Hay Bank Program… to help prevent equine neglect before it starts and foster responsible horse ownership; and since its inception in 2006, it has been providing a “leg up” to people who need short-term assistance through their difficult times.
A record number of Hay Bank applications have been received since April of this year from across our state. 66 horse owners have asked for assistance in feeding 190 horses, and SAFE has provided a “leg up” for them all! Below is just a small sampling of the thanks received:
- Thank you very much! I am so thankful for SAFE!
- Thank you so very much for your generosity to help my horses out at this time. I do appreciate your organization’s kindness and support through this.
- I just wanted to say thank you. I can’t tell you how grateful I am. Thank you to SAFE and to all the donors. You are all Angels! When I am able, I will definitely donate back!
What differentiates SAFE’s Hay Bank Program from other pet food banks is it provides short-term assistance only. Horse owners may apply for a month’s worth of hay for up to 5 horses. At the start of the program, we did allow owners to apply for a second month of help if they were still facing difficulties. Due to high demand and limited funds, we are now only providing one month of hay to each applicant. If ongoing assistance is requested, SAFE can consult with the owners to help develop a plan to resolve their situations, including re-homing assistance when needed.
SAFE is convinced through its years of experience that one of the ways to prevent equine neglect is to provide assistance to responsible horse owners in our communities facing hardship. With two months left in this year, there is no telling how many more Hay Bank applications will be received. What can be told is the Hay Bank funds earmarked for this year are dwindling fast so it is feared for the first time in Hay Bank history that a “leg up” will not be possible for all applicants.
If you are in a position to help SAFE replenish its Hay Bank funds before year end so SAFE can continue its work to help prevent equine neglect, please visit https://www.safehorses.org/donate/ and mark your gift “Hay Bank” so it can be properly applied. Thank you!
EDIT: A generous donation from the Jester estate has increased our available funds by $10,000. Thank you so much to the Jester Family for extending this kindness to horses in our state!