Every little bit helps
KATAMATITE LIONS CLUB DELIVER LITTLE BIT OF DROUGHT RELIEF TO COONAMBLE
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.