CHERRYFIELD — Cottontail Cottage Farm Sanctuary, a 501(c)3, nonprofit, dedicated to providing a forever home to farm and companion animals, has taken a big hit by this year’s covid-19 pandemic. Located in Cherryfield, on a 50-acre farm — but serving the entire state of Maine — Cottontail is home to over 75 farm animals, many of whom have come from severe neglect and state welfare cruelty cases. Run by co-founders, husband and wife team, Jenny and Mathew Nichols and some dedicated volunteers, Cottontail’s mission is to provide compassion, respect, dignity and love to rescued farm and companion animals and to give them a place to call home.
In March, due to the threat of COVID-19, the sanctuary closed its doors not only to the public, but it’s volunteers as well, in an effort to put the health and safety of the animals first. This left just the Nichols family, who reside on the premises, to carry out the day to day running of the farm and care for the animals.
For the next three months, the farm was put on lockdown. Aided by their two teenage daughters, the family experienced long days that began at the break of dawn and ended by nightfall. Faithful friends came to their aid by dropping hay and food supplies off at the gate.
In late June, and closely following COVID-19 safety guidelines, Cottontail was able to welcome back a handful of volunteers. According to Jenny Nichols, who also acts as the organization’s executive director, this was a huge relief. “A bright light in what was quickly becoming a darkening world – if it wasn’t for all the animals to keep us going.”
The real worry, aside from the threat of the virus itself, was the lack of donations that came as a result of the plunging economic system. Added to that, the decision was made to cancel this seasons much-anticipated farm tours and to remain closed to the public.
According to Jenny, being on the Downeast coast and a hotbed for tourists, the risk was just too great, especially when covid cases began to increase. However, the loss of public revenue as a result of this, has become a new challenge. The farm sanctuary is not funded by any state, local or government agencies – but by donors and like-minded people who care about the welfare of animals.
CCFS is a popular destination bringing visitors from Maine and beyond. The sanctuary grounds are part of a 200-year-old farm homestead. There are pockets of fields and many trails throughout the property where folks are invited to walk and enjoy nature and the serenity of the place. The organization hopes to inspire change in how animals are viewed, believing them to be sentient creatures who are deserving of a peaceful existence: and one that would have them remain off the dinner plate.Fundraising efforts are currently underway to help Cottontail Cottage Farm Sanctuary out. Donations can be made on their website: http://www.cottontailcottage.org; on a popular Fundrazr platform: https://fundrazr.com/c1hHA3?ref=ab_6xVa0 and mailed directly to them at: CCFS, 471 Milbridge Road, Cherryfield, Maine 04622. They are asking the public for tax-deductible donations and express their deep appreciation for any support that is given.