Marion FFA is putting on a benefit trail ride Oct. 12 to raise money for an orphanage that cares for 35 orphans living in Kyrgyzstan.
“Of those 35 kids, about 5 are toddlers, but their ages range from 1 to 17,” FFA chapter treasurer and Marion High School senior Alicia Maloney said. “A person from the government there said that the orphanage can take as many kids as they want, so long as they have enough funds to take care of all of them.”
The FFA got the idea for the trail ride from last year’s FFA theme, which was “Grow,” Alicia said. The theme led them to think about how important food is to people, especially those that don’t have enough.
Alicia said there is no specific number they looking to reach. However, the general goal of the trail ride is to raise enough money to meet the proper nutritional needs of those 35 orphans for the year.
“They get a little more food on holidays, Alicia said, “But each kid usually only gets rice and water and about 3 lbs. of meat per year.”
Alicia’s aunt and uncle, Cheryl and Allen McFall own the orphanage. Alicia’s mother, Mary Maloney, is Cheryl’s sister.
Maloney said many of the little ones were found all alone in abandoned houses and one child was discovered in a trashcan.
“There was an 8 month old who, when they got it, was only 8 pounds,” Maloney said. “Another one had its legs all bundled up and could not walk.”
Through care the children received at the orphanage, the 8-month old has since gained weight and the other can now walk.
Maloney described another case where the Kyrgyzstan state orphanage turned away a baby because it was allegedly dying. Her sister’s orphanage took the baby in and helped it anyway.
“They could only feed it a half an ounce every couple of hours or it would get sick, “Maloney said. “Over time they kept adding to the amount and since then it has recovered.”
Maloney is also helping her daughter and the FFA organize the trail ride.
“My mom has a lot of experience with trail rides,” Alicia said. “We hope to make this an annual event.”
“People need to bring their own horses,” Maloney said. “The trail ride will leave from the Florence football field by 9 a.m.”
Early registration deadline is Sept. 28. The cost is $25 for kids and $50 for adults. Entry price includes a lunch while out on the trail and a dinner after the ride is over.
For more information or to register, contact Alicia or Mary at (620) 878-4666 or Mark Meyer at (620) 381-0161.