A Bollywood-inspired class is just one of the dance fitness and yoga offerings raising funds and awareness for an animal sanctuary in Delta, B.C.

Sweet Serenity Yoga and Wellness is partnering with Perfect Pastures Animal Sanctuary for a biweekly outdoor fundraising event beginning this week.

Set on Perfect Pastures’ field, Fridays at the Farm is a four-class series that benefits the animal sanctuary while safely continuing group classes during the current COVID-19 restrictions. The outdoor program permits Sweet Serenity and its yogi community to stay active and connected while practicing in an open space.

“We’re offering two class style options: the Fitness Mash-up, with Zumba, BollyX and Refit; and a Yoga Series featuring Hatha and Slow Flow. The variety makes it extra engaging and fun, and gives each instructor their time to shine,” explains Jenine Lehfeldt, owner of Sweet Serenity. “Maggie (Ferguson) from Perfect Pastures is the kindest, most hard-working person I’ve ever met; she puts the animals before even her own wellbeing. I’m passionate about animals, too, and feel fortunate I’m able to help.”

Lehfeldt’s North Delta studio has hosted many local fundraising initiatives, including cat and bunny yoga benefitting the Delta Community Animal Shelter. Sweet Serenity recently helped Perfect Pastures raise over $1,200 for Amaro, a rescue dog who needed medical attention for pneumonia and an enlarged heart. Fridays at the Farm was conceived as a means to continue to support the sanctuary, which is a haven for farm animals like goats, sheep, and pot-bellied pigs, as well as a temporary home for pets needing immediate refuge before moving to organizations that deal with foster care and adoption.

“Things are getting more difficult for animal rescue care, especially since COVID-19 has increased poverty in communities already in need,” explains Ferguson

She’s been based at her Ladner farm for 10 of the last 40 years she’s been helping rescue animals. For the past nine, she has also facilitated a food program aiding animals in northern B.C. communities. This year alone, Ferguson has collected and shipped 7,900 lbs of food to rescues, food banks, and community support workers who distribute the goods where they’re desperately needed.

“I realized northern communities weren’t getting the food support they needed, so I started collecting animal food and packaging it in bulk. I approached Lower Mainland transport companies who go to remote areas about getting what I collect to the rescues – and the rest is history!”

This year, Ferguson’s trusted delivery truck finally reached the end of life after 350,000 km on the road. In order to continue their mission, Perfect Pastures has started a GoFundMe page with a goal of $35,000 to purchase a replacement flat-deck truck.

For over three months during the pandemic, Lehfeldt has had to get creative, including pivoting to online classes. On June 15th the studio reopened, but the new safety precautions have significantly dropped capacity by 75%.

“It’s been one of the hardest things any small business owner could have ever imagined facing, but through sheer determination and the support of our community, we have managed to stay afloat,” she shares. “We aren’t out of the woods yet, as we don’t qualify for the majority of government assistance; however, we’re determined to continue being the safe space our all-ages community needs for physical and mental health.”

Fridays at the Farm kicks off this Friday (July 10th) and follows with classes July 24th, August 7th and August 21st, weather-permitting (a Zoom link will be provided in case of rain). Participants may attend one or all classes, and are asked to pre-register, with a minimum donation of $44 for either four-class series.