Itawamba County nonprofit Crossroads Ranch has netted more than $700,000 over the past four years for its community for special needs adults.
Saturday night, with help from World Series champion Brian Dozier, the group raised more than $200,000 at the Golden Halo fundraiser at the Tupelo Furniture Market. Crossroads Ranch is among several organizations Dozier, a Fulton native and pitcher for the World Series Champion Washington Nationals, both promotes and financially supports.
Renae Bennett, a potter by trade and Crossroads Ranch founder, formed the idea behind the ranch while searching for a community for her son, Marcus, who sustained a traumatic brain injury at the age of 17, leaving him mentally disabled. She wanted to have a privately funded, residential community for high-functioning, special needs adults. “We want people to realize we’re trying to build a place where we would want to live,” Bennett said. “We don’t want them to live like second-class citizens. They deserve what we deserve.”
Since 2013, Bennett and a team of dedicated volunteers have been working to make the 42-acres Crossroads Ranch a reality.
The ranch, which is scheduled to open in early November, will include a lodge for meals, education center and gathering place, individual small houses for residents, an organic garden with a greenhouse and farm animals, and a skills depot for citizens to make pottery and other goods.
Through donations, fundraisers and pottery sales, Bennett believes the skills depot – where the ranch’s eventual community of high-functioning adults with cognitive and physical disabilities will create art – will sustain the whole thing. This makes each Crossroads resident an important cog in the heart of the running machine.
The ranch will provide a happy, healthy and safe environment for those who choose to call it home and also for those who come for daily activities.
Susan Sheffield, director of outreach and fundraising for Crossroads Ranch, knows the importance of this and past Denim & Diamond fundraisers which have always had strong community support, as reported by The Itawamba County Times’ writer Adam Armour.
There are many reasons people support and volunteer for non-profits beyond the simple goodness of their hearts. Some give back because it feels good, but it also allows the choice of where and how to make a difference. It’s easy to get inspired with a cause one truly cares about – and it’s rewarding to see the direct impact.
The most important reason we should donate to or volunteer with projects like Crossroads Ranch is because we can. It’s the only way that we can make our communities a better place to live in, not just for ourselves, but also for the generations to come.