Thanks to the efforts of two communities, several tonne worth of toiletries valued over $50,000 will be distributed to drought stricken farmers in central west NSW.
Albury resident Laurie Reynolds started collecting his own items for farmers, but after speaking with people at Somerville, on the Mornington Peninsular, Victoria, more items were donated to the cause.
Items include toilet paper, tooth paste, tooth brushes, women’s products, nappies, wipes and tissues and were also donated by people from the Albury/Wodonga region.
“I’ve been doing charity work for seven years but this is the biggest one yet,” Laurie said.
The items will be handed over to the Lions Club of Geurie, who will distribute them to farmers.
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Thrifty donated a truck and NRMA donated $200 of fuel so Laurie and his friend Neil Milburn, who accompanied him on the journey, could travel to Ballimore to drop the items off to members of the Lions Club of Geurie.
“A lot of people think someone else is going to do it (a charity run)… but if that keeps happening it will just keep passing down the line. Someone has got to grab the bull by the horns,” Laurie said.
“Farmers won’t have to spend money on toiletries.. they can put it towards purchasing fuel or feed.”
Mr Milburn said the generosity of those who donated was phenomenal.
“Doing something for somebody else beats depression any day of the week,” he said.
“Both Laurie and I have retired and if we’re not doing something we feel like we’re not contributing to society.”
Boxes were also donated so that the items could be easily packed and ready for distribution.
“There’s people that have been doing it really hard and we take for granted what we’ve got,” Mr Milburn said.
“Without farmers we’re absolutely screwed, we really are.”
Not far from the Albury/Wodonga region, Mr Milburn said there are farmers who have been selling off their breeder lambs because they had no food and no water.
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“The drought isn’t isolated to just here (the central west). It’s Australia wide,” he said.
“Western Australia and Tasmania are the two states that currently have fodder and they’re doing a magic job in helping. Everyone’s digging in. But if someone can just do something small it makes a huge difference.”
Drought support has been happening for many years, long before the current drought, and Mr Milburn said if it wasn’t for Brendan Farrell’s hay run initiative, assistance wouldn’t be what it is today.
“He’s been the catalyst for a lot of things,” he said.
Laurie even received a call from Brendan wanting to meet him.