WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A farm in New Jersey is keeping busy during the offseason.
Its innovative holiday idea will help support both its animals and the community, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Thursday.READ MORE: Post-Christmas Return Blitz At Area Malls Reveals Possible COVID-Influenced Trend: Some Things Just Don't Fit
It’s a Christmas lights spectacular. Jump on a hay ride wagon, playing holiday music and take a magical tour of Allaire Community Farm, which is lit up for the season.
“They will see 50-foot Santas. They will see light tunnels. They will see lit up menorahs and crosses,” the farm’s Joann Burney said.
“And what kid doesn’t love a tractor ride, right?” Baker asked.
“Nothing better than making little ones smile at Christmas time,” Burney said.
Burney and her husband, Sean, run the farm. Once it gets cold, public support dies down. The ticketed light show will benefit the nonprofit and the more than 120 rescue animals and all of the farm’s community support programs, which includes hiring and teaching vocational skills to special needs children and adults.READ MORE: Travel Woes Worsen, Around 175 Flights Canceled At JFK, LaGuardia, Newark Airports Sunday
“Right now, we are up to nine area high schools’ special need programs, helping them also to learn some social skills and some farm skills,” Joann Burney said.
Tracy Bean and her son volunteer at the farm.
“It has been a life changer for my son, Alex. He has cerebral palsy and is non-verbal,” Bean said. “The community part is the biggest part because he really is very special there. The animals know it, the people know it. He gets there, he crawls around. So many times I get yells across the farm, ‘Alex is out of his wheelchair again’ and he visits the animals.'”
Allaire Community Farm also partners with Monmouth County mental health agencies.
“To help young people who are struggling with at-risk behaviors — suicidal, anxiety, stress, self harming, all of those things which are on rise this year because of COVID,” Burney said.
Veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome are also served through therapeutic horseback riding. The goal is to nurture through nature.MORE NEWS: Citymeals On Wheels Celebrates 40th Anniversary
On Sundays, the farm puts together baskets for families of cancer patients and those struggling due to lost income from the pandemic.