Jo Deibel sat in her pickup, waiting at a red light, the pressures of running a horse rescue weighing on her mind, when a stranger rapped on her driver’s side window.
Startled from her musings, she jumped, but then quickly rolled down the window when she saw the eager, smiling face.
Before the light turned green, the woman quickly pressed $50 into Deibel’s hand, and said, “I love what you do.” The money was for this month’s hay drive at the nine-year-old charity: Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue.
“It was pretty amazing,” Deibel says. “People are starting to recognize me around town because I’ve had the tailgate of my truck painted with the Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue’s Stop Slaughtering Us message, and they often honk and wave.
“But this is the first time somebody has given me money!”
When Deibel put her truck in gear and headed along her way, her heart felt lighter.
And it would grow lighter still in the coming weeks when the annual Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue Hay Drive was ended early due to heavy donations!
The hay drive kicked off in the second week in April, and after raising the necessary $6,000 to buy feed for 16 horses currently housed at her Glenville, PA facility, Deibel was left, once again, counting her blessings.
Indeed, people have stepped up in so many ways to help the nonprofit horse charity, which, in addition to re-homing horses, has taken a leadership role in fighting horse slaughter.
Deibel and her associates have funded a billboard campaign, which has placed giant placards along well-traveled roads with the urgent message, “Stop Slaughtering Us.”
And, the message resonates far and wide. From the lady at the stop light, to a young child who recently mailed Angel Acres her allowance money —$5 worth of singles, to a husband and wife at a gas station who insisted, on buying the gas to fill the tank of Deibel’s Toyota pickup. (The pickup she won in a Toyota charity contest last year, after garnering the most votes).
“It’s pretty rewarding work,” she says. “But, of course, I wish we weren’t needed.”
There are so many horses in need, and it would be easy to become overwhelmed by it, she admits.
When bad news and disappointment comes, as it did when she recently learned that her mare, missing an eye yet destined for a good home, had the offer fall through at the last moment, it is the kindness and generosity of others that keeps Deibel focused on the big-picture goals.
“We’re very lucky. We have 27,000 Facebook fans and over 100,000 on our Causes fans list,” she says. “We just keep building our network, and we rarely ask for money.”
But ask or not, the beloved horse rescuer of Glenville is finding, more and more, that good people are turning up when she least expects it. Good people, ready to help.