Gunnedah community groups and Mullaley Public School had a visit from a fairy godmother this week.
GIVIT NSW drought support officer, Melissa Bowman, made a road trip to the shire on Thursday to drop-off donations and vouchers and meet with the Rural Financial Counselling Service, Lions clubs, Gunnedah Family Support, Meals on Wheels and Mullaley Public School.
Ms Bowman handed out about $4000 worth of vouchers for fuel, food, retail, phone credit, and ag products, along with household appliances and cutlery. All vouchers were purchased in the shire.
Gunnedah Family Support said there were an increasing number of locals asking for help because of the ongoing drought and COVID crisis.
Unemployment, homelessness and domestic and family violence are all issues and the GIVIT donations will be given to those in need of help.
Natasha Lyons said more people had also been popping in since the service moved into the CBD about two years ago.
Fellow employee Lisa Sumpter said they also had visits from locals asking what help might be available to people they know.
Out at Mullaley, the drought is still making its effects known, and the school can now give vouchers out to every student for the benefit of their families.
The school's administrative manager Peggy Crawter said a lot of farming families were "struggling" and continuing to face "financial hardships".
The vouchers were purchased in the village to help out local businesses at the same time.
Ms Bowman said it was important for communities to realise GIVIT was on-hand to help.
"We're wanting to remind people we are trying to focus on drought-affected people and we spent all that money in the local economy. We're all about keeping that money in your own town," she said.
"It's nice for us to get out on the road and meet people and have a bit of a presence in the town and to encourage other community organisations and groups to get on board with us.
"I think people think there's a bit of a catch to GIVIT but all they have to do is register and they can request whatever they need on behalf of their community."
Some are too proud to put their hands up and say what they need. That's why we rely on these community groups.Melissa Bowman, GIVIT NSW
Ms Bowman is no stranger to dry times being a farmer herself on a property between Manilla and Barraba.
"The financial effect of drought is going to drag on for years and even though they've had rain and have got plenty of feed, some farmers can't afford to buy stock," she said.
"I feel for these guys ... it pulls on my heartstrings. Some are too proud to put their hands up and say what they need. That's why we rely on these community groups.
"We realise we're not going to save their farms but if we can make them smile, it's a good thing."