The local Lions Club district have received an unexpected windfall to aid their drought relief funding efforts thanks to the generous contributions of the Dubbo based branch of the Royal Freemasons' Benevolent Institution.
The donation, totalling $175,000, was made to Lions District Disaster Alert Chairperson Anne Jones OAM after she met with RFBI CEO Frank Price during a recent visit to Dubbo and impressed upon him the struggles being faced by the region's farmers.
"Farmers in Dubbo have entered their third year of drought and are doing it tougher than ever," RFBI CEO Frank Price said.
The funding was used immediately to provide bays of hales for struggling farmers, in keeping with the Lions District's work across Wellington, Geurie, Dubbo and further afield to provide farmers with much needed supplies.
"The $175,000 will buy eight bales of hay each for 150 farmers, which is enough to give them some temporary relief," Mr Price said.
"For RFBI, it's important to support people in our local communities. We understand first hand just how big of an impact drought conditions are having on farmers and this is our way of showing them our support."
John O'Leary, one of the farmers set to benefit from the contribution says the 'invaluable' hay will give himself and other farmers much needed breathing room during one of the most severe drought periods they've ever suffered.
"On behalf of all farmers, I thank you and the community for your incredible support," Mr O'Leary said.
Anne Jones, who has co-ordinated distribution efforts from her and her husband's property in Gollan, said the donations and the supplies they would be used to purchase for farmers could be life-changing.
"It's life-saving, not only for the thousands of starving stock but also for our farmers who find themselves on the edge of despair," Mrs Jones said.
"It's organisations such as yours that gives hope, courage and strength to continue. Knowing that you care, makes all the difference. "
Mrs Jones thanked all in attendance at the official handover of the donation at the RFBI's Masonic Village in Dubbo, particularly those who had made donations, and those who had helped in the distribution, including her husband who had operated the machinery to transport and load the hay.
"I was just overwhelmed, just overwhelmed, I might even start crying now thinking about it, it's been absolutely wonderful and to be here to accept this cheque on behalf of our farmers, and our farming communities," Mrs Jones said.