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Monday, 10 September 2018 13:39

Crop fundraiser provides a harvest of hope for Rock Solid Refuge

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The Harvest for Hope initiative continues to raise funds for the work done by Rock Solid Refuge to help teens to overcome their challenges.


Farmers came together on Aug. 31 to harvest a canola crop on 120 acres of land made available for this fundraiser by Wendell Patzer. This was the sixth crop that was harvested on this land, which is located a few kilometres south of Swift Current along Highway No. 4.
Eight combines and six trucks showed up for the harvest, and everyone gathered for a barbeque lunch before the work started. According to Rock Solid Refuge Executive Director Dallas Block about 10 farmers assisted with the harvest and a number of them brought their hired help as well.
“It's amazing every year to see how many machines come out to this field and how many people,” he said. “I don't know how many we just fed lunch to, but I'm sure there was about 60 or 70. People come with their families even and just watching people jump in and get involved in this project to help raise money for Rock Solid Refuge is really incredible.”
Last year, Rock Solid Refuge also hosted a barbeque on the day of the harvest to show appreciation to those who were helping out.
“The very first year we did something like that too, but last year and this year we really wanted to see if we could do a meal for the people that were doing it, just as a small way to say thank you and hand out t-shirts and show at least some level of appreciation in that way,” he said.
The area around Swift Current experienced a generally dry growing season, but there was still an expectation of a reasonable harvest from this canola field.
“When they did the tests yesterday, it was actually running 30 to 35 bushels to the acre,” he said. “So that's what they're kind of expecting, which is a really good crop for this year. It's been a dry year and I think it's one of the better ones around, so we're very thankful.”
The decision on what to grow each year is a result of discussions by the various participants in this crop fundraiser.
“We've got a number of people that are involved in the project,” he noted. “The landowner, the farmers that are doing it and even an agronomist that's part of it, and they make the decision based on really what's best for the land in a lot of senses, but also what should give a good yield or a good profit for the year to come.”
The funds raised from this harvest will assist the program activities at the Rock Solid Refuge campus on a 60-acre property northeast of Shaunavon.
“We've got expenses every day to do what we do,” he said. “It's very expensive to do what we do. We're a non-profit organization. We really don't get government funding for what we do. We get a little bit through our education department, but other than that it's through tuitions and generous donors and projects like this that we can do the work that we do.”
Rock Solid Refuge offers a 12-month residential program for male youth between the ages of 13 and 18 who are struggling with life controlling issues. There are currently eight students in the program.
“There's lots of challenges with the kind of work that we do,” Block said. “Every day we work with young people that have had some significant struggles in their lives – addictions and other issues. That's why we exist and so our staff are caring and passionate. They do the work that needs to be done to make a difference in young people's lives that have significant challenges.”
The Harvest for Hope initiative helps to raise awareness in the community about the activities of Rock Solid Refuge.
“This project not only helps Rock Solid with resources that we need to do what we do, but it also inspires people in the area to get involved too,” he said. “When people hear about it, they get excited about something like Rock Solid Refuge that's happening in the area, an organization that's helping young people and their families, and people care about that.”
Rock Solid Refuge will welcome the involvement of other landowners with the Harvest for Hope crop fundraiser.
“We'd love to see other farmers or groups of farmers that would do a similar project,” he said. “Not only does it raise money for what we believe is a good organization, but it's really fun to see a community of people and a community of farmers come together and do something together and just to watch them enjoy doing it together.”
Block expressed his appreciation towards residents of southwest Saskatchewan for their ongoing support for Rock Solid Refuge.
“We're just really excited for the support that we always get from the southwest of Saskatchewan and this project just represents that,” he said.

Read 156 times Last modified on Tuesday, 11 September 2018 09:08
Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer