The people of the Nambucca show their true colours in a crisis. Time after time we prove ourselves by digging deep to help those in need.
We did so just recently when the call went out from our local clubs for donations to help our farming brothers and sisters out west.
“It’s just what you do when people need ya,” was the catchphrase heard over and over again as a convoy of five trucks, and several utes and trailers laden with 35 pallets worth of groceries, 2000L of molasses, over 50 round bales of hay, five pallets of grain, three pallets of water, and a whole lot of love headed over the ranges en route to the folks who needed our compassion.
But that need is still there. While the rains have fallen steadily over the Nambucca Valley in the past month, the same hasn’t been true for our western regions. Many places have seen as little as 10ml in the past two years.
“Unfortunately, over there it’s still not over,” Nambucca Heads RSL Club’s Toni Mansfield said.
“There’s been a little rain recently, but not enough. Some green is starting to poke through the cracks of dried earth – but it’s all weeds.”
And as any country kid knows, a green drought after brown can be just as devastating, with livestock bloating to the point of death from gutsing on fresh greenery after months of dry feed.
So the Nambucca Heads RSL Club team behind the last drought relief run out to Tamworth are planning to do it all again in a fortnight’s time.
“This was never gonna be a one-time thing,” Toni said.
“We love helping. The amount of community generosity shown during the last run – I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. It just made you want to do more.”
We love helping. The amount of community generosity shown during the last run – I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. It just made you want to do more.
All donations will again be heading out to the state-wide Uniting Church-backed ‘Doing It For Our Farmers’ drought relief organisation base in Tamworth where Sue Ellen Wilkin manages distribution to a broad swathe of needy communities across the Central West.
Their Facebook page is proof of the positive impacts community donations like ours are making. Not only has that generosity been actively helping to feed families and their animals in the darkest of times, but also acting as reassurance that they needn’t feel alone in all of this.
And the goodwill is again coming from far and wide.
After just missing the boat last time, Coffs’ Park Beach Plaza has been keen to lend a hand this time around, taking on the role of collecting non-perishables outside IGA and Woolworths. Two pallets-worth of groceries have already been collected and delivered by Di Carr and our friends to the north.
That’s leaving our RSL crew to concentrate on fundraising in order to purchase much-needed hay bales and stock feed, water and Visa EFTPOS cards.
“We want them to spend money in their own communities so they can keep their local economies flowing,” Toni said.
Have a drive for the drive
As a major part of that fundraising, this Sunday the club will host an 18-hole four person ambrose charity golf day at the Island Golf Course.
The cost is $100 per team and all money raised will be spent on supplies to take over the ranges on Friday, October 26.
Local businesses have been champing at the bit to sponsor one of the 18 holes, and there are already over 100 golfers signed up for the event. But the more the merrier.
Tee off is from 8am, with a sausage sizzle lunch and complimentary drink included with registration.
There’ll be a coffee van, and the Nambucca Heads Lions Club will be feeding the masses from 7am with bacon and egg rolls. All proceeds they raise will go towards the cause too.
And courtesy of Tooheys and Treasury Wines who have come on board as major sponsors of the event, there’ll be a drinks tent on the fourth hole and a mobile drinks cart zooming around the course ensuring everyone stays hydrated.
There has been a swag of prizes donated by businesses which will be raffled off on the day. And, of course, there’ll be prizes for the winning team and longest drive etc.
Bookings can be made in the RSL Club foyer, or by calling 6568-6288.
Where we stand
“We’ve already raised a bit of money, but the golf day will top that up, allowing us to take more hay over. Some of the bigger drought relief organisations have been approaching Sue Ellen to ask if she has access to more hay. So we’re definitely working on that one,” Toni said.
So far there has been enough money raised to purchase 60 premium quality round bales of hay from Nana Glen’s Bucca Creek Pastoral Company.
It’s currently mid-lambing season, but a lot of ewes are too worn out to feed their lambs and are either abandoning them or dying from sheer exhaustion.
The RSL team are planning to use some of the funds to purchase a supply of milk powder for the Little Lambs organisation, who raise orphaned lambs before returning them to their farmers.
And Beaumont’s at Dorrigo have come on board again, along with Norco Macksville and Valley Rural Supplies to offer prices on stock feed and molasses – AKA ‘liquid gold’ – at less than cost price for the drive.
Woolworths at Nambucca is acting as a collection point for donations of water; simply purchase some bottles, get them stamped by staff and place them in the collection bins in-store.
And there have already been some heart-warming donations from the likes of the Boambee Bay Community Centre, Nambucca Heads Public School, the Faringdon Ladies Craft Group, and Shirley Boulton and May Harris who donated funds from a cake stall they organised.
Nambucca RSL is donating $3500 through Club Grants and the Mid North Coast Club Managers Association have also chipped in $3500 towards the cause.
The boys from Berowra will be making the trek again with their trucks to transport all the goods over to Tamworth, and the girls will again bring their utes to load up with supplies.
The Club is still acting as a collection point for any non-perishable items the community wants to give.
As this is the last substantial act of charity planned until next year, Wendy is also making a special callout for anyone who would like to donate some wrapped Christmas gifts so that farming children might still be able to have a merry Christmas.
With all the recent negative press about misdirected funds and a growing donor fatigue, many were doubtful that a second run out west would yield as much generosity as the first one. But the naysayers are looking to have egg all over their faces, with Wendy anticipating that a total of $100,000-worth of donations will have been handed over by our community by the end of this second run.
And every cent is making a world of difference.
Can you help?
Doing It For Our Farmers Tamworth is desperate for a permanent storage shed to distribute the donated supplies from. If anyone has any connections and can help out, it would be immensely appreciated. Contact Wendy at the RSL Club on 6568-6288.