Road­side as­sis­tance hits the farm

Western Times - - FRONT PAGE - Jorja McDonnell [email protected]­ern­starnews.com

DROUGHT SUP­PORT: Adam, He­len and Michael McKel­lar (front) with vol­un­teers from the RACQ Foun­da­tion and the Week­end Sun­rise crew at Booka Sta­tion, Mor­ven, for the Drought An­gels’ Ru­ral Day Off

AN­GELS de­scended in Mor­ven on Satur­day, but not the myth­i­cal kind.

Chin­chilla’s Drought An­gels made their way to town, ready to look af­ter farm­ers in need of a day off.

Their Farm­ers’ RDO (ru­ral day off ), now in it’s 11th it­er­a­tion, is run wher­ever lo­cal pro­duc­ers ask the An­gels to go, and Drought An­gels di­rec­tor Jenny Gai­ley said that was why Mor­ven farm­ers were cho­sen for a visit.

“Mor­ven was one of the ar­eas where we have seen a clus­ter of farm­ers come through re­quest­ing as­sis­tance from us, and we know that there hasn’t been a lot of as­sis­tance re­ceived in that area as well.

“So we de­cided to see what we could do to help the com­mu­nity and the re­sponse was just amaz­ing,” she said.

Some­times the lit­tle things like self care get for­got­ten in the midst of life, which is why Drought An­gels brought a myr­iad of dif­fer­ent peo­ple with them for the RDO.

Hair­dress­ing, beauty treat­ments, hay, food, en­ter­tain­ment and a whole host of other es­sen­tials and lux­u­ries were brought out for pri­mary pro­duc­ers to utilise.

“Each time we do a drought run, we spoil the farm­ers rot­ten and treat them like roy­alty,” Ms Gai­ley said.

“We try to cater to all of their needs for the day, and use lo­cal busi­nesses to do it; we al­ways start lo­cal be­fore widen­ing the net for ser­vices on the day.

“Some of our bar­bers were from Roma and our masseuse was from St Ge­orge, if I re­mem­ber cor­rectly.”

The net was cast quite wide when Drought An­gels brought the RACQ on board, with their team trav­el­ling from across the state to be in­volved.

“They were just a won­der­ful ad­di­tion and the team they brought out did so much more than me­chan­i­cal work,” Ms Gai­ley said.

“They were also do­ing fenc­ing, ir­ri­gation pipe­lines and they painted one of the young girls’ bed­rooms.

“The RACQ were such an amaz­ing crew and it was a lovely ad­di­tion to have them there,” she said.

De­spite the suc­cess of the day, the An­gels’ work is never done and Ms Gai­ley said Mor­ven cer­tainly was not their last project for the year.

“We’re do­ing a Christ­mas run like we do every year and we’ll spend the next cou­ple of weeks be­fore Christ­mas send­ing out as many pre­paid cards and ham­pers as we can.

“We know this time of year is dif­fi­cult and, although we’ve had our big day, the work lead­ing up to Christ­mas doesn’t stop.

“The drought doesn’t stop, so we don’t stop,” she said.

Farm­ers af­fected by drought and now bush­fires in cen­tral Queens­land will also be a fo­cus for the An­gels, who are try­ing to look af­ter peo­ple across the coun­try.

“Com­ing into the new year, we will be back into it and get­ting out more as­sis­tance.

“We are now also get­ting calls about the farm­ers who are al­ready in drought and now have been af­fected by the bush­fires,” Ms Gai­ley said.

The Chin­chilla-based char­ity works much far­ther afield than its lo­cal area and wel­come farm­ers from across the coun­try if they need a help­ing hand.

“Drought An­gels is reg­is­tered Aus­tralia-wide for all nat­u­ral dis­as­ters,” Ms Gai­ley said. “So if you are a pri­mary pro­ducer in need, we can help.

“You can jump on­line and reg­is­ter through out web­site, www.drough­tan­gels.org.au and we will try to help you in any way we can.

“Any­body that is want­ing to sup­port farm­ers, whether it is fire or drought, can also do­nate through the web­site.”

PHOTO: RACQ

PHOTO: RACQ

AN­GEL CREW: Com­ing out to Mor­ven in part­ner­ship with Drought An­gels, RACQ staff were there to lend a hand.

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