Farm serves disadvantaged families

  • May 22, 2007
OTTAWA - Alanna Dalton attributes her close relationship with God to her time spent at Waupoos Farm 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa.
“If Waupoos wasn’t here, maybe I wouldn’t have experienced God’s love the way I did,” said Dalton. “I see how God lives within us when I’m at the farm. My family and I feel so welcome here.”

At Waupoos Farm, the principal goal is to provide vacations to families in need. It’s a charitable organization founded by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

The facilities at the farm include five cottages, a swimming pool, walking trails, a playground, a horseshoe pitch, a basketball court, skating rink and a barn that contains cats, chickens and rabbits. There are plans to get calves, pigs, sheep, goats and horses as well.

Families and groups can stay a week, a night or just rent the farm’s lodge for a small fee.

Dan and Laura Kelly currently run Waupoos Farm. According to Dan Kelly, prayer, work and play are the three main things that the farm offers its clients.

“Masses have become part of the spiritual aspect of Waupoos Farm, followed by potlucks. People don’t come out to the liturgy of the Word or to the potlucks; they come because there’s a Mass. It seems to be part of the way that people see us as a community,” he said. “The people living on site can have their friends over for Mass and a potluck and not have to cook dinner.”

The Kellys hire summer students to help run the farm. Youth work as maintenance staff, lifeguards or counsellors. The camp counsellors organize a talent night every week where the youth prepare skits. They also supervise the activities such as pony rides, camp fires, hay ride wagons, beach volleyball, baseball and biking.

Sisters Maya, 19, and Nathalie Arbach, 21, first heard about the farm through their neighbour, a nun. They worked there during summer breaks in high school.

“Most of the employees were youth,” said Maya Arbach. “We talked about applying concepts that we learned at church to our everyday lives.”

Nathalie Arbach added: “People’s positive spirits as well as daily Masses have increased my faith.”

Waupoos Farm’s future goals include building a chapel separate from the farm’s family residence and deepening the spiritual dimension of its ministry.

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