By Kate Daly | Special to the Almanac
The fifth annual benefit dinner on May 17 for a local nonprofit with the slogan "animals helping people" has turned into a virtual barn-raising.
In recent months, Riley's Place in Woodside has changed both its name and location. Now called Jasper Ridge Farm, the organization has relocated its miniature horses, goats, sheep, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs to temporary living quarters in the South Bay while plans are underway to move into a new barn at Webb Ranch in Portola Valley as early as this fall.
Co-founder and Executive Director Wendy Mattes says the group wants to add more animals to provide more "comforting power" to more people, so it needed a larger space to operate.
Webb Ranch is offering the use of a two-acre portion of land it leases from Stanford. A capital campaign and permit process are in full swing to build a barn there with a turnout and pasture, a covered arena, and storage facility so farm visits can be offered year-round in all weather.
Over the years hundreds of children with physical, emotional and cognitive challenges have spent time with the animals, enjoying them on site, or on mobile visits to homeless shelters, schools and medical centers. Programs are now being extended to adults, starting with Alzheimer's patients and veterans.
Guests are invited to join Jasper Ridge Farm staff members, volunteers, sponsors and donors for a benefit dinner on Saturday, May 17, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Quadrus Conference Center, 2400 Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park.
San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley will emcee the event, which will begin with Shane Turner, an eighth-grader at Corte Madera School, performing jazz and contemporary music. The recording artist is also participating in Portola Valley's 50th anniversary celebration at Woodside Priory later on that night.
The evening will end with a live fund-a-need auction. "This is our single most important event, raising funds to enable us to operate our programs ... including (the) HorseBuddies experiential language (horseback riding) program at Webb Ranch, and our Animals Helping Children program, taking animals to visit children in facilities such as Ronald McDonald House," Ms. Mattes says.
Event tickets are $150. For more information call (650) 703-5199 or go to: jasperridgefarm.org.