Rancho Relaxo Animal Sanctuary Expands to Elmer

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ELMER, N.J. -

Last April, we introduced you to a farm sanctuary in Salem County, where the owner was asking for the community's help in raising money to help expand its services.

One year later, the owner of Rancho Relaxo has bought a second property to continue the sanctuary's mission and eventually open it up to the community.

“Basically, Rancho Relaxo was an accident,” says Caitlin Cimini, president and founder of the farm. “So, it’s on our personal farm, it’s on our private home, that’s how it started.”

As the farm grew in popularity, Cimini was overwhelmed with requests from the public to come and meet the animals.

That is what screams exactly what we want to see from the younger generation.

That’s when she came up with the idea to purchase an off-site property.

Thanks to the farm's fans — and being named GoFundMe’s Hero of the Month this past April — she was able to gather the funds to purchase a 16-acre property in Elmer.

“There will be a live-in caretaker, 24/7, and one or two people that will constantly watch the animals, monitor the animals,” says Cimini. “Some of the animals are sick and have to be checked on every hour.”

And with plans to fix up the caretaker's home, renovate a small bungalow for overnight trips, create a volunteer center, as well as the hopes of hosting a variety of events to benefit the animals, she realized she needed some help.

“I’ve been wanting to work on an animal sanctuary for a while, so I’m just glad that I got the chance to help out and fix it up in any way that I could,” says John Harker, of Lancaster, Pa., a student at the college.

Students with Williamson College of the Trades volunteered to help clean and fix up the property this week, which Cimini says gave her hope for the future and not just for the farm.

“These young gentleman, [from] an amazing college, came back to give to an animal sanctuary, instead of having a 'rat goat' in one of their houses or in one of their dorms, that is what screams exactly what we want to see from the younger generation,” says Cimini.

“She’s really emotional about it, you can see it, and it just feels so good to help out and really make an impact to what she’s doing,” says Justin Daehling, of Cape May, a student at the college.

Between the work and some play, the young men helped prepare the property, which will be opening to the public in the near future.

State Line Tack also donated $1,500 for hay and supplies for the new property, while Goldborn Electric donated its time to redo the electric in both properties.

For more information on how to donate or get involved, visit the Rancho Relaxo website.


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