Thirty-four farming families from the Moree district were given a beacon of hope on Saturday, as the Moree Drought Muster team made their first food and fodder drop to Collarenebri.
The delivery of hay, stock feed, water, food and gift vouchers has been more than a month in the making, and after countless hours of planning and preparation, the Moree Drought Muster initiative all came together on Saturday when 34 families received a helping hand during this crippling drought.
A convoy of vehicles, including a road train kindly lent by Lee Williams and driven by Brooke Cutler, the McGregor Gourlay truck driven by Mick Brennan, a couple of utes and a car that were fully loaded, made their way to Collarenebri on Saturday morning stocked to the brim with goods for the families from Collarenebri, Rowena, Lightning Ridge and Mungindi.
Included in the delivery was 30 bales of hay, 30 x one tonne bags of chickpea and cow pellets, a pallet load of pumkins, 60-odd lick blocks, two pallets of bottled water, a pallet of dog food, three pallets of hampers, a pallet of mixed feed, ladies hampers, gift vouchers, protective gear, and extra dog food.
Stephen and Carole Cutler kindly offered their property ‘Coolabah’, about 10km the other side on Collarenebri, for the delivery of goods, and when the Moree Drought Muster team of helpers arrived at 9.30am, the 34 families were ready and waiting.
“We fired up the barbecue, had a chat and introduced ourselves,” Moree Drought Muster’s Bree Pring said.
“It was a really good excuse for people to catch up and have a smile and see different people.”
While some of the farmers were hesitant at first, Ms Pring once they saw some of the items they were getting, they realised the huge amount support that was behind them.
“[The farmers] were the most down-to-earth, appreciative people which just made it all worth the planning,” she said.
“It had been a lot of pressure leading up to it and to see these people and shake their hands and look into their eyes, made it all worth it.”
Ms Pring said it was a tough and emotional but rewarding day.
“Once we were finished and could take a breath, I thought it was one of the most rewarding things to have been involved in,” she said.
“I think we’re still on a high.
“It’s not even about the hard work, we would do it all again tomorrow to have the privilege to shake hands with these people, to spend that day with them. It’s not about the praise, it’s just what you do.”
Ms Pring said the day wouldn’t have come together without the help of those involved in the delivery, particularly Tegan George and Maddison Richards.
“I couldn’t have pulled it off if we didn’t have a good team,” she said.
“I cannot thank Tegan and Maddison enough for the work they have put into helping pull it all together.
“Also the community and McGregor Gourlay who have allowed us so much work time. They’ve been so supportive of the whole thing.”
In addition to Saturday’s delivery, 15 to 20 hampers had previously been sent to people in Collarenebri doing it tough, while more hampers were left with a few businesses on Saturday.
There are still a number of hampers left, and the team are hoping to do another drop in the Garah/Boomi area but are awaiting more hay before making the next delivery.