H.O.O.V.E.S. will stay open thanks to community donations

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SWANTON, Ohio (WTVG) - A local program that uses horses to help veterans heal has been facing an uncertain future, but the organization appears to have been saved after raising 90 percent of its goal in the last few weeks.

Healing Of Our Veterans Equine Service, or H.O.O.V.E.S., operates out of a farm in Swanton. The program pairs veterans with horses to help battle things like anxiety, substance abuse and PTSD.

The group has the resources to pay the mortgage and all of its operating expenses. However, a funding gap was created when a contribution for the down payment on the farm unexpectedly fell through.

The organization needed to raise $100,000 to cover the down payment, and it had to happen in a matter of weeks. As of Tuesday, donations total about $90,000.

Amanda Held is the founder of the organization. She uses rescued horses to help the veterans at retreats and workshops. She says the program has helped change hundreds of lives.

"The outpouring of support for this program has restored my energy, it has restored my faith. It has restored everything. I am in awe of the generosity of this community. I think this will be our best year ever," said Held.

H.O.O.V.E.S. is still $10,000 away from its goal. That money needs to be raised in the next couple weeks. You can donate money, time and supplies.