IT’S hoped a united drive will help put food on the tables of farmers doing it tough during the drought.
Tamworth Regional Council, 88.9FM and a slew of local businesses have launched the ‘RU Aware, We Care’ campaign, aiming to raise cash for farmers through a range of events, which are yet to be announced.
The campaign will also distribute food hampers to landholders, as well as, fuel vouchers, and help with bills.
George Frame, 88.9FM chief executive officer, said some of the drought stories he’d heard were horrific and it was time for the community to band together.
“Some of the stories we are hearing coming from the coalface with farmers need attention,” he said.
“We’re getting pledges at this stage, there will be a number of events we will be announcing, some fairly significant that will be taking place in the next three to four weeks, we will be announcing them as we go.”
A website will be launched this week where people in need can register for assistance.
The finances and hampers will be dished out by the local Salvation Army and Country Women’s Association (CWA) branches.
The first event launched by the campaign is “Farmer Friday” urging workplaces and schools to dress in a flannelette, jeans and hat and make a small donation to the cause.
Kevin Tongue, chair of Tamworth’s NSW Farmers’ branch, said the current conditions were some of the worst he’d seen and welcomed the community drought support initiative.
“Even if we do get rain, it’s still going to be tough for another couple of months, because we’re going to have to feed our livestock for two months after it rains before we get some feed,” Mr Tongue said.
“It is very tough, I know a lot of farmers have sold their core breeding stock and just don’t know where to turn to next if we don’t get a good fall of rain very shortly.”
Tamworth mayor Col Murray said the appeal was about showing the community was aware of the plight of local farmers.
While Tamworth Regional Council is helping drive the fundraising initiative, Cr Murray said there were other forms of support council could offer.
“They must come in and talk to council,” he said.
“Council does have quite a generous and comprehensive hardship policy with regards to rates and charges.
“We’d encourage any members of the community that are out there in hardship paying rates to come in and talk to council.”
The campaign is a joint initiative of 88.9FM, Wests Entertainment Group, Tamworth Business Chamber, Salvation Army, CWA and the NSW Farmers Association.
People will be able to make donations through ruawarewecare.com.au which will be launched on Thursday.
Donations of pet food, non-perishables or toiletry items can be made at Wests Leagues Club, Centrepoint, Shoppingworld and Tamworth Square shopping centres.
A gala concert featuring Lee Kernaghan is also in the works.