HELPING HAND: Ariel Qasabian, 10, and Abbey Qasabian, 8, with Woolworths' limited edition sunflower kits.
HELPING HAND: Ariel Qasabian, 10, and Abbey Qasabian, 8, with Woolworths' limited edition sunflower kits.

Raising hope for our rural communities battling drought

SEEDS of hope for drought affected communities will be sown across the country this weekend.

By purchasing a limited edition $2 sunflower seed kit as part of the Woolworths Discovery Garden program, you can help support those who need it most.

Woolworths will match every dollar raised from the sale of the kits for the S.T.A.N.D. (Support Through Australian Natural Disasters) Drought Action Appeal - funding The Salvation Army, Rural Aid, Foodbank and Lifeline.

These charities directly support farmers and rural townships with financial aid, stock feed supplies and counselling.

Rural Aid CEO Charles Alder said drought conditions had worsened by as much as 40 per cent in the past 12 months.

He said Rural Aid now fielded "50 to 60 calls a week from farmers wanting drinking water for the family - that's a growing part of our supply".

The mental health of people in these areas is also of major concern.

"Mental health counsellors have (conducted) more than 4000 phone calls to farmers over the last 12 months or so," Mr Alder said.

Salvation Army general manager of community fundraising Andrew Hill said its network of rural chaplain partnerships - usually husband and wife teams - spent weeks on the road visiting farms and towns.

"Face-to-face support has been absolutely vital," Mr Hill said.

Kit seeds in the promotion were sourced from farmers from across NSW.

Woolworths managing director Claire Peters said their stores are in the heart of every community.

"Every day we hear about the worsening situation in these regions from our local team members and we want to do more to support those impacted by drought."



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