Hay bales heading west for desperate farmers
HOPE in the form of 300 hay bales will be sent out to Ilfracombe in western Queensland from the Fraser Coast early Thursday morning.
After three months of fundraising, the Maryborough branch of Burrumbuttock Hay Runners have raised more than $35,000 to buy and transport hay to desperate families out west.
Seven B-double trucks full of hay and womens'care packs will be heading inland; double the amount of Fraser Coast trucks that joined the last hay run in January. Organiser Andrea Hamilton said the support from the community was overwhelming.
"So many businesses, clubs, schools and every day people have been so generous, they have no idea the world of difference it will make to the families who need it," Andrea said.
"If one donation lasts a month, then that's one more month of hope that farmer has for it to rain."
The Fraser Coast trucks will join the rest of the hay runners from Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales, in Augathella on Friday morning, and hope to arrive in Ilfracombe by Friday night.
Kerry and Martin Lloyd run a cattle station near Blackall and were one of the families to receive a donation during the January hay run.
She said the donations made by people all over Australia, including the Fraser Coast, help people in her position on both a financial and emotional level.
"Just knowing that somebody cares makes such a big difference," Kerry said.
"For us it was just a hay donation, but it made a huge difference; at the time it was costing us $800 a day to keep our stock alive."
The Martins run 40,000 acres of land, but are running less than 1000 head of cattle because of the bone-dry conditions.
"We've had to reduce our number significantly because it is really dry," she said.
"All this rain out in the west, you would have heard about all the rain in February up around Winton and some parts of Longreach? Well we had 7.5 mills which does us no good at all.
"It doesn't even water the lawn and we've still got dry dams."
The January run involved more than 200 trucks from all over Australia, who transported donated hay to the desperate properties, but the next run will include other donations including toiletries and canned food.
Kerry said those types of donations would be "absolutely appreciated".
"You know, when you see it on special in town, that's when you get it," she said.
"But we still want to support our local grocers too."