Around 30 truckies have come together to help put smiles on the faces of flood affected farmers in NSW through the Need For Feed Disaster Relief Easter Hay Run.
A group of trucks began loading up on Thursday night and left southern Victoria on Friday morning, meeting up with more hay loaded trucks along the way.
“There were other trucks that met up with us in Jugiong on the Old Hume Highway, then the next, we met with more trucks at Barnawartha, and then at Marulan,” said Need For Feed founder Graham Cockerell.
The trucks began arriving on Saturday afternoon, bringing hay and hampers to farmers who have been doing it tough. Some of the areas they travelled to included Taree, Wauchope, Rollands Plains and Telegraph Point.
Cockerell and his Western Star (along with one other truck) had to be put onto a ferry at Settlement Point, to get across to five farming families, who were still completely cut off due to flood damage. It was unloaded at Maria River as it was still too wet to enter the farming properties. “There was only one tractor left operating between the five farms and even it had been under water,” he said.
“Some of the farmers we met were in tears, some had big smiles – everyone reacted differently. The hay allocation was based on their stock numbers and needs. Some of the bigger farms got whole truck loads, some of the smaller farms had truck loads split between different farms. Each family also got a food hamper that also contained personal care packs, a bag of dog food, a Lions Club teddy bears for the kids and all sorts of stuff. It was really well received of course,” Cockerell added.
“There were some big tough truckies who got a bit emotional themselves too. From an organiser’s point of view, it’s such a good thing to be doing for people and we’re really grateful that so many truckies gave their time during Easter to help others in need. Some of the truckies would have only got back last night.”
Among the truckies who took part was Dave Morris, a former farmer who received hay from Need For Feed during the Nathalia floods in 2012.
Along with the Easter run, Need For Feed also sent six trucks into NSW’s mid north coast the previous week and more are on their way, with more trucks due to head up from Victoria this week too.
Looking ahead, the next big hay run planned by Need For Feed will be the ANZAC Day run. “We’re hoping for a similar amount of trucks for the ANZAC Day run, but we could quite easily handle 50 trucks. There are many farming families that are affected. There’s still a lot of work to do,” said Cockerell.
For more information on how to get involved, please click here.