May 23, 2011
OPELIKA, ALA. -- Nearly 300 supporters turned out in their finest Derby attire to support Storybook Farm's Third Annual Kentucky Derby Dinner and Auction on May 7, helping raise more than one-third of the organization's annual budget in a single night.
"It exceeded all of our expectations and generated vital funds that will continue to help support our mission and our ministry," said Dena Little, founder and director of Storybook Farm. "It's critical for our budget, because it is the only fundraiser we host all year."
Auburn University Athletics Director Jay Jacobs and his wife, Angie, were honorary chairs of this year's dinner and auction. Jacobs talked about how the equine-assisted activities offered at Storybook provide hope and healing for children with mental, physical and emotional needs.
"Storybook Farm is a special place where miracles happen every day," Jacobs said. "Angie and I were blessed to serve as honorary chairs of the Third Annual Kentucky Derby Dinner and Auction. We are foster parents, so this ministry is close to our hearts."
Foster children are among the many children with physical and emotional needs that Storybook Farm serves. The non-profit farm provides therapeutic equine-assisted activities for children with life-threatening illnesses, disabilities, and cognitive or social delays. Children who have suffered from personal tragedies also visit Storybook, which has served hundreds of children annually since opening in 2002.
"We just appreciate what Dena, her staff and the countless volunteers who work at Storybook do every day," Jacobs said. "We would also like to thank the generous donors who opened their hearts and their wallets to make the Third Annual Kentucky Derby Dinner and Auction a success."
Storybook also held a Derby Day and open house on Saturday, May 8. It featured live music, the Alabama Mobile Dairy Classroom and a performance from the Bama Frisbee Dogs. Little said the dinner, auction and open house give Storybook a chance to tell its story.
"Obviously the dinner and auction are critical because we have to have the funds to operate this ministry, but the open house also enables people not as familiar with Storybook to come out and see what we are all about," Little said. "It's hard to wrap your mind around equine assisted therapy because it encompasses so many different aspects, from the physical and mental to the emotional. Unless you come here and visit, it is hard to understand the God given connection between the animals and the children."
For more information on Storybook Farm, please visit www.hopeonhorseback.org or call (334) 444-5966