PERRINEVILLE, N.J. — Perhaps no one appreciates dedicated volunteers as much as other dedicated volunteers.

Julie Stern has been volunteering with Helping Hearts Equine Rescue in Perrineville, N.J. for eight years, “along with the many other long term amazing volunteers.”

Helping Hearts was founded in 1988 by Lisa M Post, who now serves as the organization’s president, also as a volunteer. 

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“I personally cannot say enough about this organization but eight years ago I was looking for something in my life and well something lead me to Lisa and have never left this place since,” Stern said.

“Our volunteer team is made up of many generational team members of which brings a varied robust rounded expertise and many different personalities and learning curves.  I am always amazed with being around the many different cases that Lisa rescues, the education and strengths and love that is brought through our team of volunteers.” 

Post, on the other hand is quick to thank those who help her. “Our volunteers are fantastic people who give of themselves tirelessly for our rescues. They give our rescues what they need and deserve — respect, attention and love via grooming, hand-grazing and groundwork,” she said.

Rescue work is often not pretty. The endings are not always happy and tough decisions have to be made.

“We are exposed to starvation, abuse and just ‘not wanted’ cases,” Stern said, “Lisa has taken in the cases that no one else wants or has the expertise to handle.  Not mentioning the many losses we all have experienced, but together we have loved, groomed, trained, or just hung out for hours knowing the next few days could be their last day.”

In late March, that last day came for Simone, a former work mule. Simone came to Helping Hearts in October, 2015 after the rescue outbid two kill buyers at New Holland. She spent her last few years being pampered and quickly became much beloved by the volunteers. 

“We all knew with her signs of going down, slow moving and her lack of energy her time was coming. But our volunteer, Karen Harbin spent three solid hours out with her, grazing, talking, hanging out and just being there. Then a few days later Simone let Lisa know it was time," Stern said. 

The volunteers were notified and Harbin went to Simone's side as she was laid to rest.

"These animals that Lisa rescues, they have so much to give and we have so much to learn from them,” Stern said. 

Despite the hardships, Stern finds volunteering rewarding. “Along with volunteering you learn a lot about yourself, and then you begin to help others and then it becomes a daily part of your life,” she said, “I cannot say enough about Lisa Post and her incredible piece of heaven she has offered me and the many other volunteers that have helped Lisa through the years before my time.” 

Aside from directly working with the horses there is constant fundraising and networking on Facebook and other social media to show case an adoption that is ready for a forever home.

Learn more about Helping Hearts Equine Rescue at or on Facebook.  The address is PO Box 342, Perrineville, N.J. 08535 or Phone 732-786-9015.

To find other rescues to volunteer for see

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