Eighty trucks of hay destined for drought-stricken farmers in the region, arrived at the Dubbo showground on Saturday thanks to the Lions Club of Australia.
The trucks came from far and wide as part of the Lions Club ‘Need for Feed’ drive.
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It's not just about the hay, it's about talking with the farmers. They are not forgotten we care about them.”- Helen Schultz
Need for Feed Volunteer Helen Schultz said she went on a hay run two years ago and heard heartbreaking stories first-hand from farmers and now she just wants to help them.
But it is not just about feeding stock.
“This is my fourth hay run this year, I live in Newcastle and I do it because I had a family member take his life, so the mental health of the farmers is important,” she said.
“My first hay run two years ago put me in front of people that I saw at their wit’s end, I know that is not a good place to be.
“My job is to talk to people when we get to a town with the hay, like in Dubbo I saw a few farmers feeling a bit awkward so I just go up to them and start chatting, I share my personal story with them.
“I saw a farmer in Dubbo who was on the brink of making a bad decision, so by having someone to talk to and to let him know how it impacts the people left behind, it shifted his thinking, so it’s not just about the hay, it’s about talking with the farmers.
“The farmers should know they are not forgotten we care about them, that’s the message we are trying to get across to them, I think we achieved that in Dubbo.”
Need for Feed founder Graham Cockerell has been helping farmers since 2006 and said he is determined to make a difference in the lives of people doing it tough.
“Need For Feed has been a major supplier of emergency fodder and transport, outstripping the State Government and other agencies combined,” he said.
“We are supplying the stock and animal feed needs of affected larger properties by semi loads and providing smaller properties by ute convoys. We continue to raise funds to support all farmers in fire, drought and flood-affected areas each year as required as they struggle to rebuild properties and livelihoods in times of crisis and natural events.”