Commonwealth Bank Australia Moree branch has enlisted the help of Moree Men’s Shed to kick start a campaign and raise much needed money for struggling farmers.
As the drought continues to tighten its grip in most parts of NSW, the CBA and Men’s Shed have shown they won’t sit idly by and watch farmers suffer.
“I had the idea of doing something for the farmers after a client of the CBA came into the branch a couple of weeks ago. She told me how the drought has caused a lot of mental strain for farmers. I couldn’t sleep well for a week after I heard her story,” CBA Moree branch manager Marla Hosegood said.
The local branch manager said she immediately knew who to turn to for help.
“I called the Men’s Shed and explained to them I wanted to raise money, so this is what we have done,” Mrs Hosegood said.
In a matter of days, the Men’s Shed managed to carve up a wooden, handcrafted truck and trailer and 110 wooden blocks. Each block represents one hay bale, and costs $20.
“A customer can buy a block from the teller at the CBA and write a personal message on the block before it goes in the trailer,” Mrs Hosegood said.
The money raised will be sent to Burrumbuttock Hay Runners, an initiative of recent OAM recipient Brendan Farrell. Known as Bumper, the NSW farmer set up the charity in 2014 to deliver hay to farmers who were struggling to feed their cattle.
The last run Mr Farrell completed, supplied hay to around 300,000 cattle.
As Mrs Hosegood pointed out, many farmers in NSW are reaching deep into their pockets to buy hay from South Australia.
“Just to have hay delivered to their farm on a b-double truck can cost $12,000. One farmer even had to pay as high as $17,000.”
Along with the wooden truck and trailers, Mrs Hosegood has set up a display of photographs that highlight drought induced areas. Brown, dry and leafless paddocks are a common theme. In one photo, cattle are grazing on dried grass along the roadside. There simply isn’t enough grass in the paddock to feed them.
“As the farmers say, another day gone is another day closer to rain,” Mrs Hosegood said.
She added she was ecstatic with the response and support the branch had recently received.
“Everybody has thrown their hat in. The support has been incredible. I take my hat off to all the staff at the CBA who have supported this cause. They have been absolutely great.”
For Men’s Shed Peter Sampson, he was only too happy to help.
“When Marla approached the Men’s Shed, we had no hesitation.”
Mr Sampson and secretary Ron Baker are ex-farmers and know firsthand of the challenges of farm life.
“I used to have a piggery on the land and even just getting feed and looking after them was a tough job.”