2020 Fall Newsletter

It’s been a while since we put out a newsletter. To say this year has been different would be an understatement. With the global pandemic putting us all at risk, we cancelled our annual fundraiser in March and suspended all programming at both the farm and bakery.

While the bakery was closed, Megan and Natasha, a Newport High School intern, were busy creating new recipes, program support materials for participants, and deep cleaning the bakery in anticipation of reopening. They made picture recipes for our participants who struggle with the written word and are visual learners. They also created activities around learning the different measuring cups and measuring spoons. One of the new recipes Megan will be offering is a Finnish Coffee Bread. It will be available at the bakery on Thursdays or by special order.

With COVID 19 also causing the suspension of programming at the farm, Margaret organized a small group of festively attired donkeys and handlers for an Easter Parade at Woodlawn Care Center and around Main Street in Newport. Donkey and handlers also participated in parades for residents at Woodlawn and the Sullivan County Nursing Home this spring. The donkey crew also brightened the day for our friends at Visions for Creative Housing Solutions in Enfield, NH. During the shutdown at the farm, spring cleanup projects, the planting and tending of vegetable gardens, one-on-one appointments with a few participants, as well as tending the donkey herd daily have kept Margaret very busy.

As we looked for ways to reduce our expenses during shutdown, we made the difficult decision to return the three donated donkeys to Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue. We were also able to place our donkey, Rosie, as a companion to another donkey on a local farm.

In June, under COVID 19 reopening guidelines, the Aurora Bakery reopened with limited hours (11:00-3:00 Tuesday-Friday) and we have sold produce, baked goods and hand-made items at our booth at the Newport Farmers Market each Friday from 3:00-6:00p.m., which will continue through September 25. We have also been working in collaboration with Full Circle Farm Therapeutic Horsemanship, providing driving lessons and cart rides. September brings the return of school programs with Sunapee and Kearsarge school districts.

Bakery Highlights

There are currently three participants coming to the bakery, with five more individuals starting back next week. Robert is coming in twice a week, one day to volunteer and one day as a paid employee making dog biscuits.

We would like to wish Natasha Whipple congratulations and good luck! Tasha interned with Aurora Bakery for a year and a half through Newport High and we have had the pleasure to employ her over the summer. Tasha graduated Newport High School in June and has headed to Johnson & Wales University to study Baking and Pastry Arts. We will miss everything she has brought to the bakery, her hard work and dedication, her aptitude to get along with everyone, her help with teaching our participants, her baking and cake decorating skills, etc. But excitingly, Natasha will be back this November to help us with the holiday season!

Fundraising and Grant News

Despite having to cancel our main fundraising event in March, many of our local business and individual sponsors and supporters generously made donations. We are incredibly grateful for their support. It helped us keep our bills paid and our equine partners cared for. We would like to thank the following:

Bar Harbor Bank Deb Coffin

ERC Associates Goodrich Oil Company

Gutgsell & Phipps, DDS InTrack Investment Management, Inc

MJ Harrington Jewelers LaValley Building Supply

Miles Family Charles Nulsen

Pleasant Lake Veterinary St Thomas Episcopal Church

Woodlawn Care Center

Carroll Concrete CSB Insurance Company

Harbor Light Realty, Dave Smith Laura Hallahan, Realtor

Joan Wilson Woodcrest Village

We would also like to thank and express our gratitude to St. Thomas Episcopal Church for their continued grant support. We have also been generously supported by grants from Sullivan County United Way and the Newport Service Organization again this year. Additionally, we would like to thank Sara Kelly, Aurora Bakery landlord, for her support during the shutdown. We applied for and were awarded a CARES Act grant which we hope to receive in the near future. We have applied for 2 additional local grants and are awaiting decisions. It is through grant funding, donations and sponsorships that we are able to continue to offer empowering opportunities to our participants through both the bakery and farm programs. There are limited activities and safe places for our participants in the community and we are experiencing an increased interest in our programs. We will be holding a Volunteer Open House on Saturday, September 19, 2020.

Road To Independence and Aurora Bakery

Volunteer Open House

Saturday, September 19, 2020


Are you looking for a meaningful volunteer opportunity?

Would you contribute your time and talents to help people with differing abilities?

Would you like to help our equine partners who work with our participants?

Would you like to help in our bakery?