Lions Clubs in western NSW and Sydney have raised $70,000, which has all gone towards the purchase of more than 600 bales of hay to assist 42 drought affected farmers in the region.
Hundreds of man-hours went into the fundraising efforts from more than 50 Lions Clubs in the 201N4 District selling sausage and steak sandwiches and drinks.
The Sydney Lions Clubs went out and appealed for assistance to help their rural cousins in strife.
Two semi-trailers from Coleambally dropped off 540 bales of hay, on Friday, July 6, to the property of Lions Club Guerie Treasurer and Disaster Alert Chairperson for District 201N4, Anne Jones.
Read more on the work of Lions Clubs and Anne Jones:
Efforts continued over the weekend with Anne and her husband, Peter Perry, loading the hay onto trucks for farmers. The Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) funded the transport, which cost just over $33,000.
Through the Victorian Lions Club ‘Need for Feed’ project another two-semi trailers from Victoria will make their way to the Gollan property with approximately 88 bales of hay this weekend.
Farmers receiving the much needed support have come from Tooraweenah, Gilgandra, Narromine, Peak Hill, Walmer, Arthurville, Ballimore, 12 Miles, Suntop, Dripstone, Curra Creek and Comabella.
“I’m very, very proud of all the things that Lions have done, for particularly our district,” Ms Jones said.
To have the Sydney Lions Clubs come on board and fundraise was “ just fabulous”.
“Because although they don’t necessarily feel the same pain that our rural community feels out here, they are sympathetic to the rural communities and the natural disasters that none of us have any control over,” Ms Jones said.
Unless you experience first-hand a natural disaster such as a drought, you can’t comprehend how much pain and suffering people go through, Ms Jones said,
“Particularly when they (farmers) look at their animals and see their life depends on that next bale of hay or that next bucket of pellets,” she said.
Read more on the NSW drought:
Wellington Lions and Guerie Lions donated $1000 each to the cause.
“I’m very, very proud to be a Lion,” Ms Jones said.
The cost of getting one semi-trailer load of hay including freight is $5400 in NSW, from Victoria it’s $6600.
“As we get more money in we’ll buy again, but we have to wait until we’ve got enough money to buy a semi load,” she said.
“Because it’s the transport that kills you. We can get the subsidy from the RAA buts it’s got to be a semi-trailer load.”
Now Lions Club are trying to raise more money to try and do the second step of purchasing hay.
“There are a lot of people out there who may currently have enough money to feed their animals in the short-term, but as the rain doesn't fall and it’s so cold and nothing is growing, we’ll find ourselves in a situation in a month or six weeks where those that currently have the reserves to buy will run out,” Ms Jones said.
“And we want to be in a position to be able to help them then.”
Read more on how everyday people are helping farmers through the dry times:
Ms Jones said even if it rains today we won’t see any feed until September or October.
“The next thing we’re going to face is no water,” she said.
“People are getting low on water and it’s not only domestic water, it’s stock water as well….”
Ms Jones said helping one another in times of need was what ‘community’ was all about.
“It’s getting together, working together to hopefully help these people,” she said.
Not-for-profit organisation Drought Angels have also sent two pallets of 40 hampers to the Lions Club, which will be distributed to farmers in the coming weeks.
To continue to accumulate funds to enable Lions Club to purchase ongoing hay to assist drought affected farmers please visit lionsclubs.org.au