For the past 30 years, Bob and Chic Miller have operated their Bella Vista Farms with the single goal of providing a loving, lifelong home to neglected, abused, abandoned, injured and forgotten animals.
Theirs has been a not-for-profit operation in almost every sense of the word. They frequently go without to ensure their menagerie doesn’t have to. They don’t take vacations; they don’t splurge on luxury items like computers.
In return, the animals—some 310 at the moment, including rabbits, llamas, goats, ponies, pigs, donkeys, turkeys, chickens, dogs, cats, peacocks and parrots— stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, they’re fed and watered and are given their medications when needed.
Some of that has just changed. Thanks to the efforts of longtime Redding CPA Scott Hoffman, Bella Vista Farms is now an official 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation—an important designation that means contributions are now tax deductible.
As Hoffman noted, with the 2013 tax year getting ready to close up shop, this is the giving season. And the Millers gladly accept contributions. On a daily basis, they go through about 25 pounds of dog food, 20 pounds of cat food, 10 cans of dog food, a dozen bales of hay, 50 pounds of grain and a variety of medical supplies. There’s also a daily demand for towels, blankets, pantry foods and building supplies.
For several years, they have gratefully accepted meat scraps, lettuce and baked potatoes from Jack’s Grill, tortillas from Canteca Foods and various food donations from Grocery Outlet. Chic says the best way others can help is to donate cash, gift certificates or contribute to the Bella Vista Farms account at Jones Feed in Redding.
Carla Jackson, a Happy Valley dog trainer (and a contributor to A News Café), is a big fan of Bella Vista Farms and often refers to Chic Miller as a modern-day St. Francis of Assisi. “She’s the real deal. One hundred percent of donations go to those animals. She doesn’t spend money on herself or self-promotion or anything else. Everything goes to the animals.”
Hoffman, who has been an accountant in Redding for 35 years, is a Bella Vista Farms believer as well. “Those people have pretty much given their lives for animals that nobody wants. That kind of care is hard to find in today’s society. Anybody who is an advocate for animals, who wants to see their situation improve,” should consider a contribution, Hoffman said.
The farm is located on 45 acres of tree-studded hills on Lower Gas Point Road. It is not a petting zoo or an adoption center. When animals arrive, they are there for the long haul.
“The animals seem to find us,” Chic told a reporter visiting the farm last year. “We do a lot of orphan care, a lot of bottle feeding and a lot of medical problems. Diabetes, congestive heart failure, deaf, blind, three-legged—we don’t take the cute and cuddly because they’re adoptable.”
How to help: Readers interested in supporting Bella Vista Farms can make donations of food and medications through Jones Feed & Cattle Co. at the intersection of Eastside and Girvan roads in Redding; call (530) 243-3201. For information on other donations, including tax-deductible cash contributions, call Bella Vista Farms at (530) 347-0544.
Photos by Jon Lewis.
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.