Two hundred drought-stricken farmers from the central west have received a helping hand from Western Australian charity Rapid Relief Team (RRT).
The convoy of 23 trucks rolled into Condobolin on Friday, August, 17 with 2000 bales of hay which will be distributed to the farmers over the weekend.
The farmers come from Lake Cargellico, Tottenham, Tullamore, Condobolin and Nymagee.
The drought relief operation came about after the whole of NSW was declared impacted by drought.
“The RRT reached out to farmers (after the declaration) and found out what was going down on the ground,” RRT spokesperson Mick Wilson said.
In the space to two weeks the charity organisation raised in excess of $2 million to purchase the hay.
There are RRT volunteers not only in rural WA, but in central west NSW, which was how they were able to join supply with need, Mr Wilson said.
“That was where we were uniquely positioned to be able to help,” he said.
“We saw the problem, came up with a solution.”
It will take 104 volunteers in Condobolin to help distribute the 1200 tonne of hay to the farmers, who will receive 10 bales each.
Mr Wilson was able to meet with some of the farmers that morning.
“There was a lovely lady who spoke.. she just told about how heartened she was about the solidarity and the experesion of interest,” he said.
“The interest and willingness of people to help them that really buoy’s their spirits.
“That’s what really motivates us.”
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The RRT was established in 2013, by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.
“It’s in our blood to help people on the land because we’ve got a lot of volunteers that are in small rural towns and farming communities,” Mr Wilson said.
“We’re all about care and compassion for communities in need.”
There were over 1000 truck tyres and a support mechanical crew there to help if anything was to go wrong.
Thankfully, the only thing to happen was four tyres blowing out.
Mr Wilson said it was similar to a “military operation.”
“It’s seriously well organised. This is not like dumping a few bales of hay in a country paddock…,” he said.
Most of the truck drivers are from WA and Mr Wilson said they are “large hearted and willing to help.”
Most people get in their car and go towards the city, but don’t realise you’ve got farmers suffering on your doorstep...Mick Wilson
“It’s great to be able to just do what we can,” he said.
Mr Wilson is from Camden, an area also impacted by the drought. He described it as “toast.”
“We’ve watched the dam levels just drop down,” he said.
“Most people get in their car and go towards the city, but don’t realise you’ve got farmers suffering on your doorstep until you get out there and talk to them.
“And that’s what really helps. It helps you as a person to appreciate what they’re struggling with and it helps them because they can see other people taking an interest...”