Reach­ing out to help

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS - By Alana Chris­tensen

Some Kata­matite res­i­dents have put a smile on the face of drought-af­fected farm­ers in NSW, trav­el­ling more than 1500 km to give $6500 to a small com­mu­nity of 2750 peo­ple.

The money, which was raised at Kata­matite’s Big Day Out in a Lit­tle Town in Septem­ber, was do­nated to Coon­am­ble in north­ern NSW af­ter the group of Kata­matite Li­ons Club mem­bers spent hours re­search­ing where the help was needed most.

‘‘(The Li­ons’ Need for Feed Dis­as­ter Re­lief) said the town was the worst they’ve seen,’’ Kata­matite Li­ons Club sec­re­tary Rob Peachey said.

‘‘They’re strug­gling a lot and rather than just giv­ing to the farm­ers af­fected by the drought, we wanted to sup­port lo­cal busi­nesses as well be­cause they are also strug­gling.’’

Club pres­i­dent Gra­ham Lukies said the group was drawn to a Coon­am­ble Shire Coun­cil ini­tia­tive where ‘drought-buster dol­lars’ were do­nated by lo­cal char­i­ties and dis­trib­uted to those who need a help­ing hand.

The dol­lars can only be spent in busi­nesses in the shire, with the ‘win-win’ ini­tia­tive en­sur­ing lo­cal farm­ers get a help­ing hand and money keeps cir­cu­lat­ing through lo­cal busi­nesses.

A col­lab­o­ra­tion between the coun­cil and lo­cal Coun­try Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion, Ro­tary and Li­ons club branches, the Kata­matite group was glad to be able to sup­port an­other com­mu­nity.

Kata­matite Li­ons Club zone chair Julie Bal­lard said see­ing the ef­fect of the drought first hand was an ‘‘eye-open­ing’’ ex­pe­ri­ence.

Yet, with sum­mer creep­ing closer and dry con­di­tions set­tling in across north­ern Vic­to­ria, the group was all too fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion af­fect­ing its own back­yard.

‘‘We’re hear­ing more and more about the drought from peo­ple around town . . . We’re ex­pect­ing to be drought­de­clared in the next six months,’’ Mr Peachey said.

In an ef­fort to lend a hand and raise spir­its, the Li­ons club — with sup­port from the cricket club and other lo­cal agen­cies — will hold a Com­mu­nity Christ­mas Party with a sausage siz­zle and visit from Santa on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 15. It will be held at Kata­matite Re­cre­ation Re­serve from 6 pm.

From one lit­tle town to an­other . . . Kata­matite Li­ons Club sec­re­tary Rob Peachey, zone chair Julie Bal­lard, mem­ber­ship chair An­drew Mof­fatt and pres­i­dent Gra­ham Lukies have re­turned from north­ern NSW where they de­liv­ered much-needed drought re­lief.

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