BENEVOLENCE is no new word for Freemasons - the Royal Freemasons' Benevolent Institution (RFBI) has been providing service to their communities since 1880.
In NSW and the ACT to institution has built and now operates 22 residential aged care villages and 20 retirement villages plus provides home care services for more than 2500 older Australians.
However, it was during a visit to the Dubbo Masonic Village that RFBI CEO Frank Price learnt more about the continuing drought throughout the state, and the work of Geurie Lions Club members long-standing assistance to drought affected farmers.
Mr Price heard first-hand about the hard-working volunteers organising and distributing some $1.5 million worth of hay to needy farmers throughout the Central West, Anne Jones and Peter Perry with fellow Lions and the struggles being faced by the region's farmers.
The RFBI was so taken by the successful coordination on behalf of Lions International that he recently returned with a cheque for $175,000, enough to purchase enough bales of hay to distributed eight bales each to 150 farmers throughout the region from Wellington - west.
"Farmers have entered their third year of drought and are doing it tougher than ever," Mr Price said.
"The $175,000 will buy eight bales of hay each for 150 farmers, which is enough to give them some temporary relief.
"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."
The unexpected windfall for more hay will see distribution efforts from Mrs Jones and Mr Perry's property at Gollan.
Anne Jones said the donation used to purchase hay 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," she said.
"It's organisations such as RFMI that gives hope, courage and strength to continue. Knowing that you care, makes all the difference. "