With New South Wales among areas experiencing severe drought, the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW has launched an appeal to raise funds for rural communities in need.
Kelly Morgan, Vinnies’ executive Officer for NSW’s central west and far western region, said the charity is witnessing first-hand the devastation this drought is having.
“People are really doing it tough out here. Many are investing all they’ve got in feed and other supplies to keep their farms going,” Ms Morgan said. “As a result, they’re often struggling to keep up with regular bills, including groceries and even household water.”
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, NSW’s 2018 winter rainfall was well below average, meaning farmers who have already suffered years of drought have had no respite. Over the last 15 months, several areas have had the lowest rainfall on record.
“Vinnies members are part of these struggling rural communities and know what farmers are facing," Ms Morgan said. "My husband and I, for example, have been hand-feeding our own livestock, and without rain in the next few weeks we will need to cart feed in. There are so many farmers doing it far, far worse than us, and it’s been incredible to see communities pulling together during this emergency to help where they can.”
One such story is that of local Vinnies member Michael Lynch, who has visited 30 remote farms over the past week to offer assistance through Vinnies.
“People like Michael are doing great work. Farmers affected by the drought know they are not alone,” Ms Morgan said.
The Vinnies Drought Appeal will provide immediate relief through food assistance and other household bill payments; fund the delivery of water and animal feed by partner organisations; and organise social events for rural communities to come together and find support.
Vinnies launches appeal for drought-afflicted NSW (Vinnies NSW)
St Vincent de Paul Society NSW to launch drought appeal (The Sunday Telegraph)
Boy, 10, pledges to help drought-stricken farmers (The Sunday Telegraph)