First, it was Black Friday, then came Cyber Monday, and today we have Giving Tuesday. 

After two days of spending, Giving Tuesday is intended as a day to give back. It is a global initiative that aims to increase awareness surrounding charitable giving as we head into the Christmas season.

Karl Schoenrock is the owner of Kismet Creek Farm south of Steinbach. The farm rescues animals from abuse and neglect and provides them with lifelong care and security. The property has been in the Schoenrock family for decades, but he says if they do not get financial help quickly, they may be forced to permanently close their doors.

Schoenrock says they are currently caring for 96 animals. He notes on average it costs them between $6,000 and $7,000 each month to operate the farm. And, Schoenrock says their financial situation is so dire, that unless things improve, the farm might be forced to cease operations within the next month or two. 

"Without me being able to pay the bills, I'm going to have to sell my family farm," he says. "This is my family farm, I put all the extra money into it, some of it myself, my pension from the military in order to build this, to get people in through the doors. But without people coming in, without donations, I will not survive."

As part of Giving Tuesday, Schoenrock is hoping that people will consider making a donation to his farm. A GoFundMe page was set up earlier this month with hopes of raising $40,000. As of Tuesday afternoon, nearly $4,000 has been donated.

Schoenrock says this time of year is especially difficult financially because their visitor numbers drop during the colder months. He says though they do get some fundraising dollars, the majority of their revenue comes from school visits or family gatherings. 

Schoenrock says he knows full well that Kismet Creek Farm is not a good business venture. However, he says it is in his heart to do this for the community. Schoenrock says there is no farm/ sanctuary like this anywhere in Canada. Not only do they show compassion and care for animals, but they teach children where their food comes from and help put a positive spin on farming. 

"It is all about getting kids outside, off electronics and back to nature, back to freedom, back to having fun," he points out. 

Another local organization that could use your donations today is Trailblazers Life Choices in Steinbach. Program Manager Rayann Kuban says their organization supports adults living with intellectual disabilities. She notes they exist to assist people with inclusion and with daily living.

According to Kuban, they are funded through the government of Manitoba as well as through donations. Trailblazers is also connected through CanadaHelps. On Tuesday of this week, CanadaHelps will donate an additional one per cent for each donation, to a maximum aggregate amount of $25,000.

"We are working towards a kitchen renovation," says Kuban, when asked how they could specifically use funds at this time of year. 

She notes though they do not have an official fundraising goal, they would love it if they could take in $10,000 for this project. Kuban says the reason why this renovation is needed is because Trailblazers offers programs for building life skills, and she notes cooking is a big part of that.

"Cooking and nutrition," she says. "Cleaning is an important life skill that we help people learn. And baking, everyone just enjoys baking."

Kuban says they have experienced tremendous growth in recent years, noting they have probably doubled in size over the last 24 months. 


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