Mike Blais handing over the $1500 donation to Andy Parent and Pauline Lafleur of Big Sky Ranch

The North Grenville Community Service Council (NGCSC) made a $1,500 donation to Big Sky Ranch at the end of December to help them with their costs over the winter. The NGCSC is a Board made up of representatives from the Kemptville Lions Club, the Kemptville Kinsmen, the Rotary Club of Kemptville, the Knights of Columbus 5333, and Legion 212. The Board’s mandate is to look into emergency requests that are sent to member groups. Any local organization or individual can send in a request to the members to be assessed by the Board.

“It has to be an emergency request and their last hope,” says NGCSC Executive Director, Claire Larabie. “It’s mostly low-income earners and seniors – those are the ones that turn to the groups.”  The NGCSC has limited funding, as each group contributes a set amount to the yearly budget.

This is the second year that the NGCSC has supported Big Sky Ranch with a donation to help them get through the winter. “They had no money for hydro and they made an appeal,” Claire says. “[This year] there was a request from a member club that they again needed funding.” Requests like these are not something the NGCSC usually addresses, so special funding was used from members.

Big Sky Ranch Office Manager, Pauline Lafleur, says they are very grateful for the support of the NGCSC. “I just want to take the opportunity to thank them, because they’re all members of our community and they don’t just do good work with us, they help everybody in the community. Without these service clubs, everybody in Kemptville would be worse for it. We’re really, really touched and honoured that they’ve included the animals in that care of the community.”

Because of the generous support of the NGCSC, Big Sky Ranch will be able to upgrade their failing heating systems in the barns to make sure the animals are safe and warm over the winter. This is especially important considering they have animals like emus, which aren’t built for the cold weather. “There are four barns, and we put heating systems that we could afford at the time; but they’re insufficient, so we’re needing to upgrade them,” Pauline says. “Because of people’s kindness, we’re able to now. We’re going to be getting larger propane heaters and they’ll last a long time.”

Big Sky Ranch is currently closed to visitors due to COVID-19. However, they are always looking for donations of disinfectants like Lysol wipes, bleach and Pine-Sol, and animal feed which can be purchased from Willow’s Agriservices in Kemptville. Monetary donations are also appreciated, so they can direct the funds to where there is the most need. Pauline says they are always blown away by the community’s support of the Ranch and are hopeful that they will be able to welcome people back to visit the animals in 2021. “I think the animals are getting bored of seeing just the same five of us. This is a healing place and the animals give back so much.”

To donate to Big Sky Ranch, visit their website at www.bigskyranch.ca. Anyone can also donate to the NGCSC. To make a donation, send a cheque, made out to the NGCSC, to PO Box 1992, Kemptville, ON. K0G 1J0.


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