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Celestial Farms Animal Rescue Asks For Donations To Make It Through Winter

Barn decorated with colorful "celestial farms" lettering
Jessica Palombo
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WJCT News
The farm, at 13958 Duval Road in Jacksonville, operates Monday to Saturday between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

A farm animal rescue on Jacksonville’s Northside that depends on donations is in danger of closing because of the pandemic. 

The nonprofit Celestial Farms animal sanctuary recently needed to refinance its property — a challenge in an already lean year, as people stopped booking events like weddings. 

Sheep eating a carrot
Credit Jessica Palombo / WJCT News
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WJCT News
Visitors are encouraged to bring vegetables for the animals.

Near Jacksonville’s airport, Celestial Farms is home to more than 200 rescue animals, including a cow, horses, goats, rabbits, chickens and pigs. Visitors can also take classes at the farm about nature, gardening and the humane treatment of animals – and even camp on site.

4 piglets walking toward young boy
Credit Jessica Palombo / WJCT News
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WJCT News
Visitors can get up close and personal with animals, like piglets.

Farm founder and Director Veronica Pasciuto is asking for the public’s help to make it until spring when more visitors will hopefully return.

“We didn’t have the crowds coming to events and nowwe don’t have the resources to hold us over, but things are looking much better,” she said.

That’s because, Pasciuto said, the community has stepped up to heed her call, and she’s halfway to a $50,000 fundraising goal.

Bunnies munching on pile of spinach leaves
Credit Jessica Palombo / WJCT News
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WJCT News
Celestial Farms is home to many rabbits, who are partial to leafy green veggies and herbs.

“I think the people in the community definitely want to have a sanctuary for these rescued farm animals, and they also want to find a place to be able to find safety and peace for themselves,” she said.

Tours these days are by appointment only. The farm, at 13958 Duval Road in Jacksonville, operates Monday to Saturday between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

An online raffle for prizes including an overnight stay at the farm’s lodge and a free photoshoot at the farm ends Tuesday night, Dec. 22, with a drawing at 11:59 p.m.

 

Michelle Corum joined WJCT as "Morning Edition" host in 2012 and has worked in public broadcasting as an announcer and reporter for public radio stations in Lawrence, Kansas, and Interlochen, Michigan. She also manages WJCT's Radio Reading Service for sight-impaired listeners.