When Jami Tero arrived at Tomorrow’s Rainbow in Coconut Creek last week, she was dismayed by what she found:
The horses sped back and forth, disoriented and confused by the destruction that surrounded them. Other farm animals, shaking and soaking wet, cried in fear.
The plastic tarps, which had once offered the ponies shelter from the sun and rain, now lay twisted and torn in the bushes. The metal stakes that had held them in place were now bent and out of the ground.
It was difficult for 18-year-old Tero to understand that the place, which had provided comfort since her father’s death five years ago and her grandmother’s death shortly after, now needed much mending itself.
“Right now it’s just kind of sensory overload,” said Tero.
Tomorrow’s Rainbow offers children and their families who are grieving a place to go. There, they can play with the miniature horses, sheep, goats, horses and a pig.
But after last week’s storms brought hail and wind that tore up the farm, Executive Director Abby Mosher had to suspend some programming until the damage could be repaired.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” Mosher said. “These children have experienced enough loss in their lives already. The silver lining is that none of the animals were harmed.”
Added Tero, “We’re trying to figure out what to do with the minis and what to do to keep them safe since they have no place to sleep.”
Debbie Easter, who boards her three horses next door, was there during Thursday evening’s storm.
Easter recalls a moment when everything went black and she recalled a loud noise that sounded like a train. She thinks a tornado might have touched down.
Tomorrow’s Rainbow has suffered damage before, but nothing that an easy repair couldn’t fix.
“This is the most damage we’ve ever had,” Mosher said.
Operating on a $400,000 budget, Mosher said there just isn’t the money to make the needed repairs.
For years, she has wanted to build a proper barn for the animals, which would cost about $40,000.
A barn would not only be beneficial for the animals, but for the children who visit as well. Typically when it rains, group therapy has to be cancelled, but with a proper barn, therapy will be able to go on.
She has already received a $20,000 donation from the Patriot National Insurance Group.
Mosher isn’t waiting to build a barn to reopen. Her goal is to make Tomorrow’s Rainbow safe for children to visit as quickly as possible, to keep their therapy going.
On Monday, she said teens could come onto the property, but those younger than 12 would not be allowed on the grounds until more safety issues are cleared and a temporary shelter for the animals is ready.
“Right now in this crisis, it’s all about money,” Mosher said. “It’s just, how are we going to pay for these repairs or replacement so that we can open our doors again and really come back to supporting the children?.”