Truck, ute convoy in Tamworth as drought aid continues to arrive

ROLLING ALONG: Volunteers from both ends worked together to unload the goods in Tamworth. Photo: Melissa Davis
ROLLING ALONG: Volunteers from both ends worked together to unload the goods in Tamworth. Photo: Melissa Davis

A CONVOY of tangible help and pure Aussie spirit arrived in Tamworth at the weekend, as more people far and wide continue Doing it for our Farmers.

The delivery, from mostly Nambucca Heads and Dorrigo, included 40 pallets of food and water, 44 silage bales, 2000 litres of molasses, two pallets of lucerne hay, pet food and Visa gift cards.

The trucks arrived in style on Saturday, escorted into town by local ute owners, before the goods were unloaded, ready to be delivered to or collected by farmers in the area.

Doing it for our Farmers founder Sue-Ellen Wilkin said the group was very grateful for the effort.

“It was a real mixed bag of items – some very exciting things in there,” she said.

One of the visiting philanthropists, Melissa Davis, said it had been “one of those rare days that gets etched into your memory forever”.

She said that, on seeing the local conditions, she “found it inconceivable to imagine battling to feed a family out there ... let alone a herd of stock”.

“Everything was just bone dry, and the barren topsoil was being picked up by stirring winds and swept across the bowl of the Tamworth district in the form of dust devils.”

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New digs sought

The volunteers are still operating out of the old Carpet Court building in Peel Street, after the seller and buyer agreed to its use during the settlement period.

Their time was almost up, she said, so the hunt was on for new premises within the next few weeks – and as it was for a charity, it would “have to be a love-job”.

“I’m just so grateful they've given us the opportunity to use this building; it is huge to give someone free rein of a building,” she said.

Volunteers use the space to store, sort and pack donations, which are then dropped off to properties.

Mrs Wilkin said people were also welcome to visit and select what they needed.

“Coles have lent us trolleys and we’ve been saying, ‘Go for your life, fill up your ute and there’s no charge’ …

“People have been coming in dribs and drabs, but now things are getting really bad, people have been coming in more often for a chat and to grab some food.”

Work continues

Mrs Wilkin said the volunteers were now regrouping after the weekend’s delivery, as well as two recent fundraisers.

The Doing it for our Farmers ute muster and concert, held recently in Kootingal, raised almost $3000.

“The highlight of the day was seeing the fact we got two farmers to come forward,” Mrs Wilkin said.

“They came to the concert and then hung back and said, ‘Look, can you help us out?’.”

A barbecue held in Peel Street late last month was also “really fantastic”.

However, Mrs Wilkin said: “We didn’t sell a darn thing.”

“We gave it away and people just threw money in a bucket,” she said.

They raised $1650.