“We had been up a few times and taking some of our gear up which was normal that we do every year,” Spearing told the Cooperator in an interview. “They took everything. It was like the Grinch that stole Christmas. They went in and took every nut, every bolt, they took the clothing that we had there, they took the food that we had there. Everything. It was left an empty shell except for the evaporator, which is massive and too big to move out of the building. “
The thieves left the small business without the means to produce their product They were devastated at the thought of not being able to complete their maple season. Kathy made a Facebook post, letting other sugar shack owners know that there were thieves around, to keep their equipment safe, and to keep an eye out for someone selling Kathy and Danny’s stolen equipment.
“We just wanted our stuff back,” Spearing said. “We called a bunch of people, the usual, and talked to everybody. Went and talked to some people in the community, talked to the neighbors, we called the police, got the RCMP involved ,and I went on Facebook and put a post to tell people what happened, describing the gear that was missing and hoping that there hadn't been too long of a time-lapse and that somebody may have seen something.”
Word traveled fast through the close-knit community and other maple farmers. Soon Kathy and Danny were overwhelmed with generous offers of help and donations of extra equipment. Someone set up a Go Fund Me page to help the maple farm. The kindness only grew from there, with someone else reaching out to CBC radio to cover the story.
Suddenly, Kathy and Danny had offers from all over Canada, and even from the U.S. Donations came flooding in alongside kind sentiments and advice. By the time the sap started flowing, they had enough equipment to produce maple syrup again.
“We were able to manage it, not exactly everything but we were able to make things work with what we got back,” Spearing said. “Those things [donations and loans] were what got us back on our feet in time for the maple season because mother nature will not wait. When it’s time to tap the trees and when it’s time for the sap to run, it’s going to happen. So we had to move pretty quick to get things together.”