Wednesday, 30 August 2017 14:13

Farmers help to give hope to youth at Rock Solid Refuge

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Seven combines helped to harvest barley for the Rock Solid Refuge crop fundraiser near Swift Current, Aug. 17. Seven combines helped to harvest barley for the Rock Solid Refuge crop fundraiser near Swift Current, Aug. 17. Photo by Rock Solid Refuge

The Harvest for Hope fundraising initiative near Swift Current gathered another crop for Rock Solid Refuge, despite the very dry conditions in the area during the 2017 growing season.


The barley crop was harvested on Aug. 17.
Herbert Seelam, the development co-ordinator for Rock Solid Refuge said the lack of moisture created uncertainty about this year’s crop, but in the end about 8,500 bushels were gathered.
“People were not expecting that,” he said. “It was an amazing thing even for the farmers to say we just thought there’s nothing. They put a lot of effort into seeding, and then putting the fertilizers and then to make sure the best that they can, and still maybe it’s not going to work. So in that sense everybody was excited.”
The crop on 120 acres of land, which belongs to Wendell Patzer, was harvested by a crew of about 25 people. Seven combines and eight trucks showed up and the entire crop was collected in less than two hours.
“Local businesses and farmers were hugely supporting,” Seelam said. “We had a barbecue this year. So we invited everybody. It’s a way that we were able to get to know the farmers and the heart that they have to help these teenagers that are struggling with life controlling issues.”
Students from Rock Solid Refuge travelled with the farmers on the combines while they crisscrossed the land. It was a good opportunity for the farmers to meet the young people who will benefit from this fundraising initiative.
“We just thought we want them to know their stories and their struggles and whatever pain they had in life,” he said. “Even the teenagers were super excited to see that there’s somebody that really cares about their struggles.”
This was the fifth year that the crop fundraiser took place on this land, which is located a few kilometres south of Swift Current next to Highway 4.
The initiative was previously known as the Land for Land fundraiser, but the name has now changed to Harvest for Hope. The previous name referred to the use of the funds to pay off the debt that was created when a 60-acre property was purchased northeast of Shaunavon to establish Rock Solid Refuge.
“We said Land for Land, but now we’re changing,” Seelam explained. “Whatever money that’s going to come to Rock Solid, what we’re trying to do is use it for operations because it does cost $1 million to run this place, and whatever comes to Rock Solid will be used on the students.”
Funds from the Harvest for Hope initiative will therefore be designated to both operational and capital projects. The goal is to expand the Harvest for Hope initiative to involve more farmers who want to support the work of Rock Solid Refuge. A second piece of land will also generate funds this year, when a canola crop is harvested on 80 acres near Shaunavon.
“This year actually we put a target and said let’s try to have at least one or two extra new projects,” he said. “So we’re looking for more of these projects, because this is a successful project where farmers are making a huge impact for our organization.”
Rock Solid Refuge was founded as a non-profit Christian charity in 2005. It offers a 12-month residential program for male adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 who are struggling with life controlling issues.
The residential program assists participants to regain a new focus on life. The four key areas of the program are faith and discipleship, mentorship, education and life skills. According to Seelam the program makes a difference in the lives of teenagers as well as their families.
“There’s so many things that are happening where we do give hope for the students and also for the parents, and in return for the community they’re going to be better citizens of Canada,” he said.
He expressed appreciation to the people of southwest Saskatchewan and especially the communities of Shaunavon and Swift Current for supporting Rock Solid Refuge.
“We’re super thankful for their support and we would love to have people come and see what we do,” he said. “We want more people to support our cause, because we believe that restoring adolescent lives is a worthwhile cause to support.”

Read 1180 times Last modified on Friday, 01 September 2017 13:26
Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer

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