They’re calling it the biggest drought in history. Farms will take decades to recover. There are some small towns that will drop off the map as a result of 2018.
But out of the tears, a new spirit has arisen as neighbours and strangers reach out to hug each other.
Community Radio 88.9FM has unleashed the power of public spirit in a campaign aptly titled R U Aware We Care. Truck loads of food and finances are coming from all over Australia.
But for the huge job of sorting and distribution, we look to the Salvation Army.
George Frame from 88.9FM says: “We wanted to work with the Salvos because they have the networks and the credibility. They have the ability not just to distribute it, but to know who needs the goods and to back it up with personal advice and counselling.”
Other churches are finding creative ways to help.
C-3 Church on Duri Road recently held a trivia night and raised $2700. On Saturday, August 18, their grounds will be turned into a market place, all proceeds going to R U Aware We Care.
NW Church has formed a gang of blokes who put aside their Mondays to work on a different farm.
Other churches are collecting and distributing through their networks and rural chaplains.
There’s a family from the Lutheran church who go to a farm each Friday and do the feeding so the family can get on with other work.
When money is tight, the first things to go are the extras for ladies, the smelly soaps and talcs and perfumes. So St Paul’s Church collected and made gift packs for the “lovely ladies of Loomberah”.
Others are saying: “We know you’ve got no water. Next time you’re in town bring your washing and I’ll put it through my machine.”
A Bible study group has a fund for salt licks.
Liberty Foodcare at 70 Roberts Street has food available at low prices for needy families.
Janelle Tongue says: “We get encouraging text messages and we know people are praying for us. We just know we are truly supported.”