More than $8000 worth of groceries will be distributed to drought-stricken farmers, thanks to the CMCA National Rally.
CMCA volunteer Sheridan Crawshaw coordinated the project, which saw the Women’s Retreat in the Gunnedah Showground become a storage point for non-perishable goods, toiletries, dog food and calf milk during the rally last week.
In just seven days, the back part of the building filled up as visitors streamed into the building each day to contribute items, which will be distributed by Doing it for our Farmers’ Gunnedah coordinator Erica Meintjes.
Mrs Crawshaw said she had seen a donations point at farmers markets in Rutherford and thought the Gunnedah rally would be a great opportunity to give back to the town.
“We thought long and hard about coming to this town in the drought and we didn’t want to put stress on the community,” she said.
“We thought, ‘No, we can contribute to the community’.
Mrs Crawshaw contacted Doing it for our Farmers’ Facebook founder Sue Ellen Wilkins who pointed her to Ms Meintjes as a local volunteer.
“We wanted someone local because we wanted this to go to the local community,” Mrs Crawshaw said.
She stipulated to rally-goers that they should buy the items in the town to help the local economy at the same time.
“We said, ‘We want you to buy this in Gunnedah’, because it’s a win-win,” Mrs Crawshaw said.
“This actually makes a big difference.”
Ms Meintjes said Doing it for our Farmers had already distributed more than 130 care packages in the last few months because “help is not getting to farmers as quickly as it needs to”. The donations by RV owners will go a long way to creating more care packages, which have roughly $150-$200 worth of items in them.
“It is absolutely amazing support,” she said.
“It’s a God-send for towns in drought.
“Doing it for our Farmers can’t do it without this fantastic support.”
Mrs Crawshaw said the project had connected with rally-goers, who also bought items for children’s lunchboxes because “they’ve all got grandkids and they’re thinking of kids in the family too”.
Visitors also bought items at rural hardware stores to be given to farmers when they come in.
“When I told these guys there was a huge need for animal feed, a lot of these people went up to rural hardware stores and donated,” Ms Meintjes said.
“I don’t know how to say thank you – thank you is such a small word – to the rally members.”