The Farm Place helps kids in need

Julia Baratta, Freelance Writer
The caring community came out to support The Farm by purchasing items sold during the annual auction in Shipshewana, IN.
Marge Malone, a member of The Farm’s board, talks to Jerry and Jan Warstler of Sturgis, MI about the future projects including a barn with animals.

LAGRANGE, IN -- In 2016, the Farm Place was introduced to northern Indiana as an idea to help those children in need of housing during a traumatic time in their lives. Fast forward to 2019 and it has become a reality. The organization hosted their annual fundraiser in Shipshewana with a haystack supper, an auction, and information about the future of the project.

The activities that evening included a variety of opportunities to give for the project. The donations for the auction were numerous and ranged from furniture to quilts. Several large, high-ticket items were also on the sale bill. A 12 foot V-bottom boat with a trailer, a Queen buggy, an eight by twelve foot storage shed, and a 32 by 48 foot garage/storage building were available for the attendees to bid on and take home.

Due to the project being faith-based, the local Amish communities were quite involved throughout the evening. Mervin Miller was the organizer of the haystack meal and says he figured he was asked because of his working with the LaGrange Fire Department on their fish fry fundraiser dinners. 

“We are planning to feed 1500 people,” Miller said. “After we are done serving at 8 pm, we will auction off the extra food or offer to people for a donation.”

The meal consisted of a haystack with rice, meat, cheese sauce, fresh vegetables, and salsa along with a cupcake for dessert and a choice of soda or bottled water. Additional treats were for sale during that evening and included a bake sale, soft serve ice cream, cotton candy and popcorn. 

Two raffles were going on during the evening’s festivities. One was for a processed quarter of beef with the tickets running $50 each and six chances for the ticket holders to win. The other was a gun raffle with a couple of options and only 100 tickets being sold.

A couple of boards were on display with over 50 silent auction items available. Local businesses stepped up to support the fledgling project and gave gift certificates, services, and products. 

The Farm Place will open its house in October as the building is completed with a few minor details needing to be taken care of. It will serve four counties in Indiana with a positive atmosphere for those children who are needing to be removed from their home due to dangerous conditions. A full-time foster family will live in the house, be there for the children and help care for the animals in the future barn. The outbuildings are next on the group’s agenda and the funds raised at the auction will be applied to this next phase.

More information about the Farm Place can be found at and at their Facebook page.