More than $50,000 has been raised in less than a week to help the region’s farmers survive the severe drought – and the figure continues to climb.
While rain fell across some of the region on Tuesday it wasn’t enough to break the drought and restore feed and water supplies.
The deluge put 54 millimetres on the ground in Maitland – the most rain the city has seen since March 5 last year – while Dungog only had 22mm and Gresford received 30mm.
Wallarobba recorded 15mm, Marshdale – south-east of Dungog – had 25mm, and 45mm fell at Glen Oak.
In the Upper Hunter 9mm fell at Owen’s Gap – 25km west of Scone – and 30mm fell on properties in Bunnan.
The drought hasn’t been broken, the rain was great but we need a hell of a lot more to see grass prosper and dams and creeks full,
The Buy A Bale Hunter campaign – a partnership between the Mercury, Newcastle Herald, Dungog Chronicle, Scone Advocate, Hunter Valley News and charity Rural Aid – was launched last Wednesday.
And the region responded.
In the first 24 hours more than $18,000 hit the kitty.
The figure rose to $22,000 on Friday morning and between Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon $17,000 landed in the Hunter bucket.
Another $15,000 had been donated by lunchtime on Tuesday, taking the total to $54,000.
Rural Aid CEO Charles Alder said most of the money had come from Hunter people and he thanked them for their generosity.
The Queensland-based charity hopes to distribute 400 donation barrels in the region this week and have urged all types of businesses to become involved.
We’d like to see every pub and cafe in the Hunter with a donation barrel and we’d like other businesses to get involved as well,
“Coles at Scone have taken seven barrels and we are working with the staff there to see if we can get them in other Coles supermarkets in the region as well.
“We’d also like to see businesses sponsoring a hay truck so we can help as many farmers as possible.”
Schools are starting to back the cause and ask for a donation bin for their own drought fundraising efforts.
St Peter’s Primary School at Stockton has already requested a donation barrel and will hold a fundraiser next month to support the cause.
The students have been learning about the drought in class to broaden their understanding of farming in the Hunter region.
B-double trucks full of hay will start arriving at the end of this week. That is expected to continue for several weeks.
Mr Alder is working with farmers to source hay and organise delivery to their farms.
He said every $7000 to $7500 raised filled a b-double truck with hay and there were about 150 farmers who needed some kind of assistance to help battle the drought.
Food vouchers are already being organised at farmers’ local supermarkets and volunteers are being sourced to provide a helping hand on some farms.
Farmers have been reaching out to Rural Aid for a chat about their situation.
The charity’s headquarters have been inundated with calls, while Mr Alder’s wife Tracy has been supporting farmers on the ground.
The story Buy A Bale Hunter campaign raises $50,000 for farmers in less than one week first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.