The Farm's Thrift Store is closing
She has been running the grass-roots ministry since the founder, her husband, Bruce Karr, died in 2010. It has helped many homeless and at-risk people over the years.
Now, The Farm's Thrift Store is set to close today. The Avenue D shop brings in about $20,000 a year for The Farm's mission.
"It's been a great run for us. It made the struggle a little less," Stevens-Karr, 61, said. "Now, I've got to figure out how to keep the farm running."
Stevens-Karr said without the funding, she doesn't know how she'll continue the nonprofit's mission. Just outside the city limits, The Farm has long offered a place for people to go when they're down on their luck.
Inside the farmhouse, the kitchen is stocked to feed the hungry. Troubled youth can work off their community service hours among the animals, including chickens, goats, peacocks, pigs, ducks and dogs.
The Farm is well known for its Christmas and Easter celebrations that draw bus loads of homeless and low-income families. Stevens-Karr is planning an Easter egg hunt, carnival and barbecue on April 19.
"It's a fun day on the farm," she said. "We just turn the kids loose. It's a real delight."
Stevens-Karr generated income for The Farm as a real estate broker while her husband ran the daily operations. When he died after a lengthy illness, she set her sights on keeping it open.
"It's been a really hard time," she said. "The Farm is just what my heart wants to do."
Stevens-Karr opened The Farm's Thrift Store just over a year ago to generate income for the charity. Customers decide what they can offer for each item.
"You can pay what you can afford to pay here," Stevens-Karr said. "Of course, there were a few people we had to remind it was for charity. But for the most part, it worked really well and the community embraced it."
The owner of the Snohomish storefront has been donating the space. The thrift shop doesn't generate enough income to pay the bills otherwise, Stevens-Karr said.
The thrift store remains set to close for good unless another opportunity presents itself.
This isn't the first time Stevens-Karr has been left to rely on her faith alone. Not long ago, she found herself within days of not having the funds to feed the farm animals. A woman stopped by just in time to give her $2,500 to stay afloat.
She is hoping she'll find help in seeing The Farm through yet another tough time.
"I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing," Stevens-Karr said. "It just seems like it always comes together in the end."
Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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