FRESNO, California (KSEE) — There was some post-holiday shock for one Fresno non-profit after it got back to work on Monday. Staff was greeted with a broken doorknob and their office ransacked.
Now, Patch Farms is figuring out the next steps to be able to operate this coming year.
Every year, hundreds of those with special needs and disabilities come through Patch Farms to learn how to plant, care for and harvest fruits and vegetables.
The interactive agricultural experience aims to further develop skills — like social and working skills — for its participants.
But, with thieves making it off with their computers and other electronics, the non-profit is thousands of dollars in the hole. All of the equipment was donated to Patch Farms.
“We’re having to start from scratch and raising the money to get another one,” said executive director Dawn Purdy. “So that we can help the individuals that we serve.”
It wasn’t just electronics taken. Patch Farms started expanding operations, having people make and sell their own products, like soap and t-shirts.
“We were working on those sorts of things in the office space and a lot of those items [used to make those products] are now gone,” said Purdy.
Purdy knows this year is going to be a real challenge, especially since Patch Farms receives zero state or federal funding.
However, knowing the community’s already helped them before, she knows things will fall into place. She wants the thieves to see it happen.
“I hope they will see how our community will rally,” Purdy said.
The community has already started to rally. Jennifer Whiting, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Central California, started a fundraiser on Facebook.
For those not on Facebook and want to help, you can click here to donate to Patch Farms directly.