CASCADE COUNTY - Since 2015, the non-profit Toby's House has worked towards opening its doors to help abused or neglected kids in Great Falls. That rings true in 2020, even despite COVID-related slowdowns.
Physically the site is ready, with bedrooms, a kitchen and other facilities, but they’ve still got a ways to go before they reach their fundraising goals. The pandemic’s been tough on the nursery, forcing them to cancel pledge drives and postpone their opening from Spring to Fall.
“It’s been frustrating, and we just try to take it one day at a time,” said Samantha Stutzman, the nursery’s program coordinator.
With physical drives out of the question, the nursery’s going virtual instead thanks to community suggestions using social media, calendar sales and eventually an online auction with local businesses.
“No matter if it’s another non-profit or anybody [in the community], they’ve all been willing to help, answer questions and give me ideas,” said Stutzman.
They need $25,000 to pay their staff over the first six months, especially since Toby’s House must run all day once it opens in November.
“We were hoping to just be able to run part time… but unfortunately due to state licensing, as a youth shelter care service we do have to be open 24/7,” explained the program coordinator.
The nursery will continue raising money well beyond its launch, and Stutzman says she hopes on expanding in a few years to help as many children in need as she can.
You can find donation drives and updates on the nursery’s official Facebook page.