Beauty baskets for women doing it tough

A CANNY Coffs Harbour couple has managed to pamper women in north-west NSW who have been "going without" because of the drought.

Barry and Mary Bentley got overwhelming support from residents of the coastal city when they launched the Baskets of Love Outback Ladies Appeal.

Inundated with donations of cosmetics and beauty products, they put together 45 baskets of items that can disappear from shopping lists when money is tight.

"We thought if we donated money, women would just spend it on their families or fodder for stock, so we put these hampers together in the hope women would be able to treat themselves to a bit of pampering," Mrs Bentley said.

The baskets of goodies were delivered to the State Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries who acknowledged that "rural women are accustomed to going without during harsh seasonal times".

"I am heartened to see that our friends on the coast have acted so generously and compassionately to cheer up their Western NSW counterparts," he said.

Mr Humphries collaborated with the Gwydir Group of the NSW Country Women's Association and the Rural Financial Counselling Service to distribute the hampers at the recent Walgett Drought Buster Barbecue.

"I have no doubt that women across the Walgett region will be greatly touched by the gesture, little luxuries such as lotions and nail polish are often taken for granted but they can really help lift the morale and re-invigorate women who have had to go without for so long now," he said.

Mr Humphries said West Australian hay delivered to north-west towns at the weekend and the efforts of people like the Bentleys drew drought-affected communities together at relaxed social events that helped "those struggling to know they are not alone".

"Australia is listening and gestures such as the Bentleys show that across the nation people hold the plight of their country cousins close to their hearts," he said.

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