Ev­ery lit­tle bit helps


Shepparton News - - SNNEWS - By Patrick Tansey

De­spite be­ing 800 km apart, Katamatite Lions Club ex­tended the olive branch to Coonamble, a farm­ing town of about 3000 peo­ple on the NSW cen­tral-western plains, rav­aged by drought.

De­spite the long jour­ney, Lions mem­bers felt com­pelled to meet the com­mu­nity to de­liver a $6500 cheque.

The money was raised though Katamatite’s Big Day Out in a Lit­tle Town event in Septem­ber, with mem­bers de­cid­ing the money would go towards drought re­lief.

Lions sec­re­tary Rob Peachey said se­lect­ing a town to re­ceive the money proved a dif­fi­cult task.

‘‘After much dis­cus­sion among mem­bers, ex­ten­sive re­search and phone calls to nu­mer­ous Lions Clubs and or­gan­i­sa­tions, the Katamatite Lions Club de­cided on sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity of Coonamble,’’ he said.

‘‘Upon fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion, we re­alised that the Coonamble Ro­tary, Lions, Quota, Red Cross and Cham­ber of Com­merce had formed an al­liance to help and sup­port their com­mu­nity in drought.’’

Sens­ing and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the hard­ship, the groups and ser­vice clubs ini­ti­ated a pro­gram called Coonamble Drought Buster Dol­lars.

The pro­gram al­lows strug­gling to ap­ply for those or be Sup­port: rec­om­mended to re­ceive money which can only be spent within the Coonamble Shire, with the in­ten­tion of help­ing all af­fected by drought, in­clud­ing lo­cal busi­nesses.

So on No­vem­ber 24, Lions mem­bers, in­clud­ing pres­i­dent Gra­ham Lukies, sec­re­tary Rob Peachey, Zone 6 chair­per­son Julie Bal­lard, and An­drew Mof­fatt, trav­elled north to Coonamble.

Once there, they met with Coonamble Lions pres­i­dent Wayne Phillips and other club mem­bers, be­fore at­tend­ing the Coonamble Drought Re­lief Fun Day.

The free fam­ily day in­cluded live en­ter­tain­ment by an indige­nous rock band with chil­dren as young as seven.

There was also a free bar­be­cue, drinks and lots of other ac­tiv­i­ties for fam­i­lies to en­joy. More im­por­tantly, it was a day for every­one to get to­gether, talk and sup­port one an­other.

Mr Peachey said anec­dotes from lo­cal farm­ers laid bare the chal­lenges they were fac­ing and hit home how dif­fi­cult their plight had be­come.

‘‘One mem­ber of coun­cil and a lo­cal farmer whose fam­ily had been on the land since the 1890s had records of an­nual rain­fall since the early 1900s and said that the low­est recorded an­nual rain­fall was over 100 years ago, which was 11 inches,’’ Mr Peachy said.

‘‘He said they had only reached eight inches this year and ex­pected this to be their worst year on record.’’

Mr Peachey said Lions mem­bers had been told that most farm­ers in Coonamble had sold all but core breed­ing stock, while other farm­ing fam­i­lies talked of their des­per­a­tion and need for hay for their re­main­ing stock.

While faced with con­fronting con­ver­sa­tions and sights, Mr Peachey was happy they had made the ef­fort to go to Coonamble.

Katamatite Lions Club has teamed with Katamatite Cricket Club to sup­port Drought Re­lief in the lo­cal com­mu­nity. ● There will be a free bar­be­cue at Katamatite Re­cre­ation Re­serve on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 15, from 6 pm, pro­vid­ing fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment with a jump­ing cas­tle, chil­dren’s train and a spe­cial visit from Santa.

— Co­bram Courier

Coonamble and Katamatite Lions club mem­bers stand as one, with Katamatite mem­bers pro­vid­ing some tem­po­rar­ily re­lief to the drought-stricken NSW town.

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