The drought rolls on and the work continues at Aussie Helpers in Gunnedah – that’s a constant for the time being.
But along with ups and downs in donations and requests for help, there’s been an ever-changing roster of volunteers at the Gunnedah centre, Peter Fanning said.
Mr Fanning is now the co-ordinator in the Conadilly Street shopfront after David Moon’s departure, and he’ll stay “as long as it’s busy”.
“The thing is, we’re all volunteers and what happens is that we’ve got to go home and we’ve got to make our own money,” he said.
“At one stage there was 13 of us here and it was go, go, go … I’ll be here for as long as it’s busy; I’m not going to stand around kicking dirt.”
There are now just a few volunteers, who have recently run hay days near Uralla, Binnaway and Emerald Hill, as well as doling out cattle-feed supplements on the outskirts of Gunnedah.
In their CBD premises, visitors pick up items such as non-perishable food, toiletries, water, dog food and more – whatever the volunteers could convince people with “serious pride” to accept, Mr Fanning said.
“A lot of them say ‘no, no, no’ [but] we’re here to give things to them, because we do get donations.
“People want to see their money spent.”
Mr Fanning said he was “no farmer – I feel like I’m in an episode of City Slickers”, but he had sympathy for people doing it tough.
Ahead of this week’s remarkable rainfall, he said it was “just too weird” watching the weather.
“This place, it’s really funny … clouds that come over here – anywhere else, it’d rain, or storm in the afternoon [but] it just keeps on going, it just keeps on going.”
Mr Fanning said that, despite some rain, “it hasn’t changed out there that much”.
“Hopefully [the help] just keeps on rolling … because there’s a lot of people out there who still need a lot of help,” he said.
“It’s just ridiculous, the phone calls coming through.”
- To get in touch with Aussie Helpers, call 1300 665 232