Image: Aussie Helpers Ltd.
Australia should be so proud of our farmers. A huge area of our beautiful country is rural and remote. These regions are covered in properties where our farmers of all types are toiling away sunrise to sunset putting great quality food on our tables, clothes on our backs and providing us with a myriad of other items we use each and every day.
Our farmers are a unique breed. They are the most hard-working people you will ever encounter, they don’t whinge or complain, they take things in their stride and just keep on keeping on. They are the first people to lend a hand if someone needs it, they tend to live a simpler life than those in our cities and coastal areas, preferring instead to put what little they have into their farms and animals. They are also the most proud people. They will struggle away trying to makes ends meet and never ask for a handout or a hand up.
taking it’s toll
Over the past few years especially, our farmers have taken a real beating. The drought and other factors such as terrible milk prices has crippled them. With the stress of years of no rain, countless failed crops, financial insecurity, isolation and rural towns not being able to survive with lack of patronage. Rural suicide in Australia is ridiculously high. There are roughly 20 suicide deaths a week in rural Australia.
Image: Tourism and Events Queensland/Rowan Bestmann
Imagine working long hour days, 365 days a year and not receiving an income for several years. Having to source extra work elsewhere just to feed your families and maintain your farm a little. Imagine sending your valuable livestock to be killed because you just can’t afford to buy feed and water to keep them. This also means you now have no breeding stock for if and when the drought breaks and you need to replenish your property.
Imagine having the extra pressure of knowing your property has been in your family for generations and that you have the responsibility of being able to hand it down to your children. These children have also grown up on the land, with farming running through their veins. It’s all they want to do with their life, and the attachment your property and your family has is indescribable. To lose this farm, your life’s work, your family’s future, all rests on your shoulders. The heavens refuse to open up and bring some rain to your farm, the dairy corporations are continuing to lower the price they will pay for your milk (when you’re already operating at a loss) or on the other end of the scale, you’ve been inundated with that much water your farm is flooded, crops and stock are dead and your harvesting season down the drain. It’s simply soul destroying. Unfortunately this is the daily struggle our amazing farmers and their families are facing each and every day.
Kangaroos in abundance in Winton, Qld.
a hand up
Our farmers won’t ever ask for help. Their stoic nature refuses to let them, but that doesn’t mean we can’t give it to them.
That’s where Aussie Helpers come in. The people within this organisation are earth angels. They provide hay, stock and animal feed, plus gift hampers filled with essential household supplies and the odd treats to struggling farming families to give them a boost and a helping hand. Their visit also involves them sitting down for a cuppa and a chat, being a friendly ear to talk to. These visits are a god send to the people in the bush and rural / isolated areas. One lady commented what a massive lift it is for her to smell the scent of OMO laundry liquid on her washing (something she would normally never be able to afford) and how each time she does she is reminded of the support people like her have out there and that they don’t need to battle these hardships alone.
Aussie Helpers also organise hay days where they set up a free community sausage sizzle and allow the local farmers to come along, grab some hay for their stock, have a bbq and socialise with others in the same boat. This is such a massive morale booster for the people in the bush and is a priceless gift to the many people doing it tough.
They also have a team of mental health workers and professionals on call to help anyone in desperate need.
Image: Aussie Helpers Ltd.
Support a mate
Aussie Helpers don’t receive any government funding or assistance. They are able to do these important visits purely because of the generous donations of everyday people and businesses who dig deep to help another Aussie out. They know their visit isn’t going to take the issues away but it goes a fair way to lift the spirits of the people they call in on and gives hope that better days are coming and that they have people supporting and thinking of them.
If you can spare a donation, please do. Donations of $2 and over are tax deductible.
For more information on Aussie Helpers check out their website www.aussiehelpers.org.au