Drought Angels, Vinnies, IGA partner up to help farmers

Diana and Richard Barton, 'Murrungundy', Elong Elong, with some of their produce at the Mudgee Small Farm Field Days.
Diana and Richard Barton, 'Murrungundy', Elong Elong, with some of their produce at the Mudgee Small Farm Field Days.

A joint partnership between a rural charity, a supermarket chain and an organisation that supports people experiencing poverty have come together for a drought appeal.

Drought Angels, St Vincent de Paul and IGA Supermarkets launched the appeal where all proceeds raised will go directly to helping those in need.

Shoppers will be able to purchase a $2 IGA Drought Appeal gift token from participating stores and IGA will donate all proceeds equally to Vinnies and Drought Angels.

Diana and Richard Barton, run a pistachio farm at Elong Elong and like all drought-affected producers are in desperate need of rain.

The Barton's are fifth generation farmers and started their pistachio businesses approximately 39 years ago.

Due to the current drought conditions, Mrs Barton said they are getting by, but only just.

"Rain really does fix everything. You're suffering the drought with your produce, whether it's cattle, sheep, grain or horticulture, it also has that ricochet effect," she explained.

"We sell a lot of our gear through retail shops, but the'ye down (because) people haven't got the money to spend."

Mrs Barton commended the joint partnership between IGA, Vinnies and Drought Angels.

"I really think people are great at supporting these (appeals) and thinking about the drought and how it's affecting people," she said.

SUPPORT: Drought Angels founders Nicki Blackwell an Natasha Johnston.
Photo: DROUGHT ANGELS

SUPPORT: Drought Angels founders Nicki Blackwell an Natasha Johnston. Photo: DROUGHT ANGELS

Founder of Drought Angels Natasha Johnson said they were proud to be a partner for this initiative.

"Thanks to IGA customers we will be able to help not just one farmer at a time, but whole communities and we cannot shout thank you loud enough," she said.

The pistachio farmer also encouraged shoppers to support Australian grown produce while at supermarkets.

"It might be a little bit more (to spend on Australian produce) but it's keeping people employed," Mrs Barton explained.

Drought Angels provides personalised assistance to farmers including stock feed, food hampers and financial support and have seen their farmer base increase by 4000 per cent over the last year, all waiting on different types of assistance.

Vinnies NSW CEO Jack de Groot said the need for support is as great as it's ever been.

"Whether it's food and clean water, medical supplies, help paying bills or school fees, maintenance to keep cars or farm equipment up and running, or veterinary care for animal stock - with your support we will be able to provide it," he said.

"The current drought across Australia's east is the worst on record, while many other areas of the country continue to experience severe drought conditions, with some communities even running out of drinking water."

There are several ways, IGA customers can show their support and say thank you to farmers this Christmas.

IGA Drought Appeal gift tokens will be available in IGA stores around the country from November 11 to December 29.

Funds raised from products displaying a Community Chest ticket from December 4 to 24.

Customers can also post a message of support to those in drought affected areas using the hashtag #morethanrain