A South Surrey boy with a heart for animals is marking his upcoming birthday with an effort to help a conglomerate of furred, feathered and hooved friends that call an Aldergrove sanctuary home.
Matthew Farden figures he spends four or five hours every week volunteering at The Happy Herd, feeding and brushing the motley crew – along with sundry other tasks, such as poop pick-up – as well as helping lead tours for visitors.
The farm is a “forever home for all types of animals… a sanctuary for animals that were previously abused or at risk of abuse,” according to The Happy Herd’s website.
Matthew knows that taking care of them all does not come without a cost, so he decided to use his birthday – he’ll be 11 on Wednesday – to try and raise some funds to ease the burden.
Within two days of announcing a plan to raise $1,000, and launching a GoFundMe campaign to do it, he was nearly one-third of the way to his goal.
“We’ve earned over $300 so far and it’s only been a couple days,” Matthew told Peace Arch News Tuesday.
“I’m only asking for $5 (per person),” he added, “but some people have donated $50.
As of Thursday morning, donations had reached nearly $700.
Matthew said the money will help pay for hay, bedding and vet bills at The Happy Herd.
He said his favourite residents at the farm are its most recent arrivals, a pair of three-month-old goats.
“Kids weren’t being too nice to them,” Matthew said, of how the goats came to reside at the sanctuary, arriving in the back of a police cruiser.
Matthew noted he is the youngest volunteer at the farm, but he hopes word of his birthday campaign will inspire people of all ages to pitch in.
Traci Farden described her son as “a gentle soul” who is “so passionate” about helping at the farm.
“He’s always loved animals,” she said.
Helping others is a trait her family puts a priority on, she said.
“We always donate as a family to different charities throughout the year,” she said. “I’m trying to teach my kids, if everybody was to give back, what a great society we would have.”
Matthew’s older brother, Cole, volunteers at a seniors’ residence, she said.
Matthew is to present the funds raised through the campaign on his birthday.
To donate, visit gofundme.com and search ‘Matthew Farden.’