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Community Jumps In To Keep Farm Animals Fed During Pandemic

WEST JORDAN, Utah – Feeding farm animals may not be the first thing on the long list of problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one Utah farm is struggling as visitors stay away.

The Farm, next to Gardner Village in West Jordan, is certainly not the biggest farm in the state. But you can’t measure love in acres.

“I love the animals. Animals have always been my therapy,” said Gil Ma with a smile on his rugged cowboy-looking face.

Ma is the owner of The Farm. It’s not so much that he’s taking care of the animals here as much as the animals are taking care of him.

“There’s something about the love of an animal that can heal a broken heart,” said Ma.

It’s why he started this farm as an animal refuge. He figured even animals need a second chance.

“We work with animal control and the Humane Society,” said Ma. “They take care of the dogs and cats and we get the horses and goats and rabbits and sheep. You name it.”

There are all sorts of animals at The Farm.

“We bring them in, rehabilitate them and try to get them out to good homes,” said Ma.

However, even here, the coronavirus is making things tough.

“Well, people are staying home,” said Ma. “So, that revenue source to buy the feed to feed the animals and care for them is dried up.”

Ma charges a small fee for people to come and see and pet the animals or take a pony ride.

That money goes to feed the animals.

But if no people come, that means less money to buy food for the animals.

“We’re getting maybe a tenth of what we were getting last year,” said Ma.

Coronavirus or not, animals still have to eat.

“Hocking your personal life at the pawnshop to buy more hay,” said Ma with the kind of laugh where you know he’s not joking anymore. “We wrote a check for our last $900 on Friday to buy the last load of hay.”

Of course, the virus has nothing on how fast word spread when people in the community found out Ma was struggling.

“It’s amazing how… the goodness of people,” said Ma while wiping a slight tear from his eye.

Many people donated money, feed and hay.

It’s enough to keep The Farm going for at least a few more weeks.

“We are in scary time and it can bring out the worst in people,” said Ma. “But it can bring out the best in people. And we’re seeing a lot of great.”

Ma has a Venmo account if you would like to donate to The Farm @TheFarmAtGardnerVillage.

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