Tumbleweed Sanctuary: An Illustration of Love and Respect for All

by | Mar 18, 2022 | Heartivist Of The Week

Imagine driving along a four lane road when you suddenly come upon a dog standing in the middle of one of the lanes. Would you stop and help? When Andrea Johnson found herself in that exact situation, it wasn’t even a question as instantaneous thought gave way to heartfelt action. Having just picked up food on her lunch break, Andrea stuck her food out of the window of her car and used it as a way to guide the dog to safety. While the dog enjoyed her lunch, she worked with a local shelter to reunite the dog with its owner.

“Animals find me,” said Andrea. “That’s not the first time I’ve returned late from lunch with a dog in my car. One time in the middle of the night, my cameras alerted me that two dogs were on my lawn and we ended up finding their moms.” These stories and many others illustrate the fact that caring for animals is not simply a passion for Andrea, founder of Tumbleweed Sanctuary, it’s something she’s been called to do.

A lifetime animal lover, Andrea grew up spending time on her grandmother’s farm. While working for a domestic violence and sexual assault non-profit, she created a safe zone for the pets of survivors that included a community area where shelter residents were able to relax with their pet without fear of harm. In doing this work, Andrea began to realize the importance of her own dream –  to create an animal sanctuary. So she took a brave step with her husband and created Tumbleweed Sanctuary, a farm sanctuary focused on rescuing and caring for farmed, abused, abandoned and neglected animals.

“My mom used to laugh because I was constantly wanting to bring animals home and when we started this venture I said to my husband, “Do you know what this means?” and he said, “Yes, we’re going to have animals everywhere.” It means so much to us,” Andrea shared.

One of Tumbleweed Sanctuary’s first focus areas was the Clementine Project named after a pot belly pig who was rescued from a slaughterhouse kill pen. Andrea connected with a woman in Arizona, the owner of five pigs, who needed to move across the US to look after her parents which meant she’d no longer be able to care for her pigs. Agreeing to take them while continuing to build the sanctuary, Andrea realized that she needed more support so she reached out to The Pollination Project.

“We were so excited when we received The Pollination Project grant. I screamed and called my husband. He was so excited because this was the boost we needed. It was our first big grant and it gave us a huge leg up on getting started. It opens a lot of doors for you and we just kept thinking ‘this is really happening’. In fact, I have the email printed from the Pollination Project taped to my desk and I look at it every single day. It’s a constant reminder of where we were,” she said.

When the day of the move arrived, the pigs did not want to leave. So Andrea contacted another sanctuary that agreed to house the pigs until they are able to complete the journey. A project that was meant to take one month has turned into six months and despite the frustration, Andrea is still looking forward to their arrival. While she waits, Tumbleweed Sanctuary continues to help as many animals as possible.

From saving a donkey named Hazel and a horse that had no skin on her legs due to neglect to figuring out how to bring peacocks that were abandoned by their family to the sanctuary, Andrea’s unwavering dedication to providing for animals has her working in the evening and on weekends. She’s not only caring for these animals but she’s looking to educate the public as well in an effort to raise awareness and advocate on their behalf.

“People don’t understand what their options could be or what resources they have – they don’t have to leave their animals. Often all these animals need is medical attention or rehab and then they’re fine and we are able to find them a home with someone who will love them. We do this because we’re passionate about the work. When you can go to bed at night knowing you’ve saved someone’s life that makes it all worth it,” said Andrea.

Knowing she cannot save all animals, Andrea continues to grow her network of animal advocates all of whom believe in giving animals the chance to live their lives with dignity.

“An animal might be close to death or in danger with no home and no one to nurture them but you begin to care for them and they become totally different. They are happy because they’re in a loving environment and they know they are finally safe,”said Andrea, her voice thick with emotion. “There are so many that need help but knowing we saved even one animal keeps me going. My dream is to have all 80 acres filled with animals. We’ll get there.”

Tumbleweed Sanctuary is not only an advocate for reducing the suffering of animals, they are dedicated to spreading compassion, kindness, love and respect for all living beings.



It's Volunteer Month! 🌟 🌟 🌟 Today we celebrate our grant advisors working on Economic Development focus area.

By meticulously selecting projects for our seed grants, they're not just funding ideas—they're empowering communities and sparking transformative change. 

Join us in celebrating their invaluable efforts and the positive impact they're creating together!

🔸 Eric Anorrey (Ghana)
🔸 Mariam Nakiryowa (Uganda)
🔸 Jean-Marie Zihalirwa (DRC)
🔸 Emily Logiron Asekon (Kenya)
🔸 Georgia Bernbaum (USA) 
🔸 Herve Tsoala Kuete (Cameroon)
🔸 Jackson Bizimungu (Rwanda)
🔸 Okumu Dickson (Uganda)
🔸 Samuel Litunya (Kenya)


#volunteermonth #volunteer #heartivism #economicdevelopment #change #empoweringcommunities
The Green Earth Initiative (#Cameroon) is a project dedicated to educating and empowering students about climate change, sustainable development, and environmental challenges, that has received a seed grant from The Pollination Project in 2023. With a focus on fostering environmental protection and conservation, the initiative establishes Eco-clubs and Environment Clubs in schools, providing students with the tools to learn, engage, and take action in their communities.

Since receiving the grant from TPP, the Green Earth Initiative has expanded its reach, now encompassing 9 additional schools across two regions/cities, surpassing its initial goal of 5. 
This expansion was made possible by the overwhelming interest from school authorities and the growing number of volunteers and team members.

Through the support of TPP and other partners, the project's environmental education programs, awareness campaigns, and initiatives have impacted over 8000 students in two cities of Cameroon. Additionally, the initiative has planted over 600 trees, launched 5 Environment/Eco Clubs, and distributed over 150 adapted waste bins produced from recycled plastics, contributing to proper waste management practices.

The seed grant from The Pollination Project has been instrumental in catalyzing the growth and success of the Green Earth Initiative, enabling it to make a tangible difference in the lives of students and communities, while fostering a culture of environmental stewardship and sustainability. 

#environmentprotection #seedgrant #heartivism #environmentaleducation
It's Volunteer's Month!!! 🌟 Celebrating our family of Grant Advisors 🌟

With 80 grant advisors, all experts in their respective fields and many of them former grantees, The Pollination Project is powered by a wealth of knowledge and experience. Their service is not only precious but also essential, as they bring unique insights and understanding to the application process, ensuring that resources are allocated where they can have the greatest impact. 

🎉 Today we celebrate our incredible grant advisors in the HEALTH & WHOLENESS focus area! 

🔸 Ben Kilama (Uganda) 
🔸 Kosa Jimmy (Uganda) 
🔸 Marina Haque (USA) 
🔸 John Ebong (Nigeria) 
🔸 Nzayisenga Emmanuel (Canada)
🔸 Rodger Mwanza (Zambia) 
🔸 Emmanuel Dushimimana (Rwanda) 
🔸 Nelly Hellen Onditi (Kenya) 
🔸 Daniel Ayodele Femi (Nigeria) 
🔸 Christopher Nwafor (South Africa)

Our heartfelt gratitude to these dedicated individuals for their invaluable contributions 🙏

@jim.kosa.5 @manud05 @duemmanuel @nelly.hellen1 @daniel_ayodele_femi 

#health #wholeness #grantmaking #grantadvisor #volunteermonth #volunteers #grants #heartivism #volunteersweek #nigeria #southafrica #uganda #rwanda #zambia #canada