GIVIT urge Australians to open their hearts during dry times

GIFT OF GIVING: GIVIT drought relief manager Scott Barrett is helping communities receive the support they need. Photo: ZAARKACHA MARLAN
GIFT OF GIVING: GIVIT drought relief manager Scott Barrett is helping communities receive the support they need. Photo: ZAARKACHA MARLAN

Despite Western NSW receiving some showers in recent weeks, an online charity is urging people not to get complacent into thinking the drought is over as 98.1 per cent of the state is still drought impacted.

According to the Department of Primary Industries Combined Drought Indicator, a whopping 61.8 per cent of NSW is drought affected, while 22 per cent is in drought and 14.3 per cent are in intense drought.

National online charity GIVIT is continuing to manage offers of assistance for farmers, their families and rural communities experiencing hardship.

GIVIT's Drought Manager Scott Barrett said while recent rain has been welcome, farmers across the state were still doing it incredibly tough.

"The sporadic recent welcome rain has helped some regions in the short term but the crippling drought continues particularly across vast areas of the far west," he said.

"It's certainly not over and a tough winter is ahead with poor pasture growth and a severe shortage of traditional stock feed."

According to Elders weather, in the first 20 days of March, the town of Forbes received 16.6 millimetres.

In that same period 17.6mm of rain fell in Parkes, Dubbo received 21.2mm and Trangie recorded 17.8mm.

A total of 34.6mm of rain fell in that 20 day period at Wellington, while Walgett recorded 43.4mm of rain.

Further west, areas haven't fared as better, with Nyngan recording just of rainfall in the first 20 days of March and 11.4mm fell in Brewarrina.

The aim of GIVIT is to give back to rural and regional communities by working with local community groups.

Mr Barrett since August 2018 they have worked effectively across the region and have supported 140 groups who work with residents in towns affected by the dry.

"GIVIT has coordinated the delivery of more than 23,000 vital items for drought relief," he said.

"Sending in carloads of unsolicited food hampers and other items to drought-stricken towns is well meaning but it's not the help that's needed.

"A donation to GIVIT's NSW Drought Appeal at allows us to buy vital, specifically requested items within the local communities to also support struggling small businesses in the towns.''

GIVIT Founder and Director Juliette Wright said Australians had opened their hearts to drought- affected residents but more financial support was urgently needed to continue supporting regional and rural communities who were in dire need.

"Making a donation for a gift card to be spent locally within a struggling community will have far more impact on someone in need and on a local business than a load of unwanted items being delivered to a struggling town,'' she said.