Even though times are tough, kindness isn’t far away. That’s the message the staff at McGregor Gourlay are hoping to spread to farmers throughout the Moree district with the Moree Drought Muster campaign.
The initiative was launched last week after three McGregor Gourlay Moree staff members decided they needed to do something to help our local farmers as they are struggling through what many are calling one of the worst droughts in memory.
Led by McGregor Gourlay operations manager Bree Pring, along with two of her colleagues, Tegan George and Maddison Richards, the Moree Drought Muster aims to collect a range of items to make life a little easier for farmers doing it tough in Moree and the surrounding area.
“Basically myself and two other girls decided we would see what we could do to help our farmers out,” Ms Pring said.
Three years ago, in late 2015, Ms Pring and her dad Col organised Drinks for Drought, working alongside the Ridge Disaster Appeal to deliver some Christmas cheer to farmers around the district with toys, toiletries and drinks.
With another devastating drought taking its toll, Ms Pring has decided to do it again, this time collecting items such as fuel and food vouchers, wet and dry pet food, stock feed, bottled water, non-perishable food and toiletries.
“We got support from McGregor Gourlay Moree which has kindly offered assistance and is providing a drop-off location for all goods,” Ms Pring said.
“We’re just supporting people in the Moree district as we found a lot of towns are doing something similar.
“This doesn’t just affect our farmers but it’s Moree, it affects the local mechanic, the bakery, everyone.
“If we do it here, we’re helping everybody.”
Working alongside organisations delivering hay to farmers, the Moree Drought Muster team will put together items that can be dropped off along with the hay.
“As the hay drops are happening we’ll work beside them and give an extra bag of goodies to deliver … if they’re doing a drop at Collie, we send our items there,” Ms Pring said.
“There are people I know that have stock to feed and we’ve been able to source hay for them but they can only afford so much of that hay. What happens when that runs out? They go without the little things we enjoy.
“If they can buy hay, let us help them out with some nice shampoo, deodorant, those things that most of us take for granted.”
Ms Pring said a lot of people are currently doing it tough and while she knows this campaign won’t end the drought, she hopes it might just help lift people’s spirits so they can get through it.
“It’s not good. The hardest thing is we can’t see a break coming,” she said.
“The only thing that would fix it is rain, but we can’t buy rain. Hopefully we can gather a few items and get a good supply and good support from the whole community.
“This is about giving them support and for them to know we’re trying. To know that we appreciate them and are here to help. Moree is a community that gives, Moree comes together every time.
“If they know we’re behind them, it’s the spring in their step when they get up the next morning, knowing we’re here and care. If we don’t work together, what do we have?”
The team has been overwhelmed by the support they have received from the Moree community in a little more than a week since the drought muster was launched.
Ms Pring said they’ve been inundated with donations and offers of assistance, particularly from local businesses which are also feeling the pinch of the drought.
“We’ve had really good support,” she said.
On Friday, $550 was raised in meat raffles at the Rowena Village Inn, and on Saturday, August 25 the Golden Grain Hotel, aka the Pally Pub, will be holding an auction to raise money for the drought muster.
All funds raised will go back into purchasing items being collected as part of the muster.
“We work in the ag industry and we can see the way it is affecting people, businesses and the town,” Ms Pring said.
“If this is all we can do, this is what we have to do.”
If you would like to contribute to the Moree Drought Muster, donations can be dropped off at McGregor Gourlay Moree, on the corner of the Newell Highway and Carol Avenue.
For more information call McGregor Gourlay on 6750 8000 or go to the Moree Drought Muster Facebook page.