Last month, a boy from South Surrey launched a fundraiser for The Happy Herd farm sanctuary in Aldergrove.
And last Saturday, eleven-year-old Matthew Farden, who attends Surrey’s Morgan Elementary school, received an unexpected $10,000 donation towards the cause from the “mister Blake Foundation” – a Vancouver philanthropic organization that aims to make a difference locally and globally.
The founder and owner of the foundation only goes by the name “mister Blake,” and he called Matthew a “smart, intelligent, well-groomed young man.”
After seeing Matthew’s fundraiser on the news, mister Blake toured the farm with Matthew and offered a $10,000 donation to build a roof on a new barn that is under construction.
“I went out and checked the place out. I think they’re doing very well on a small scale,” said mister Blake.
On his own, Matthew raised $3,500 for The Happy Herd through a GoFundMe campaign by asking friends, family, and community members to make a donation in lieu of gifts for his 11th birthday.
Matthew was inspired to raise the money for the farm because he’s been volunteering there every Saturday for the last six months.
With the latest contribution, Matthew has fundraised $13,500 in total for the farm.
Matthew’s mother Traci Farden, said her son’s campaign has been “phenomenal,” as Matthew’s efforts exceeded his orignal goal of $1,000 very quickly.
“When we hit $1,000 we were pretty excited and it kept climbing. It’s been such an amazing experience. I’m super proud of him [Matthew], it makes me emotional. I can’t believe a little boy’s wish, such a simple thing, has grown to be so wonderful and have a great impact. He’s very subtle about it all.”
After hearing that mister Blake wanted to donate to her son’s campaign, Traci said it was “emotional” to see so much support.
“What a heart of gold. It’s a pretty neat thing that someone local can see someone on the news and want to be a part of it,” added Traci.
And the large donation came at the perfect time, as the farm’s expenses increase approximately 30 per cent in the winter because the animals require more bedding and food to stay warm, according to The Happy Herd co-owner Diane Marsh.
“We are amazed at the kind of response we get, [and] the love. And the people that come here and send us emails saying ‘what you’ve done has affected us so much, we’ve gone vegan,’ that’s what keeps us going. It’s not money, it’s the love that comes back.”
More information on The Happy Herd can be found online at https://happyherd.org/