Hay run heroes spread joy on Australia Day

This Australia Day, 20 trucks will arrive in drought-affected towns in Western Queensland, providing much needed relief for Aussie farmers who have been doing it tough.

This is the 16th Australia Day Hay Run organised by Need For Feed, a Lions Club project, which coordinates numerous hay runs throughout the year.

Around 30 volunteers from across Victoria and New South Wales (and a driver who travelled all the way from Tassie) are taking part in the 2022 Australia Day Hay Run. And it’s not only hay that they’ll be delivering. Trucks have also been loaded up with hampers, care packs and dog food destined for areas of Western Queensland that are still feeling the effects of drought.

They headed off on Sunday from the Victorian town of Mundoona, and are due to arrive at their destination on the night of Australia Day eve.

As Australia Day approaches each year, organisers decide on a location that needs help and support.

Need For Feed founder Graham Cockerell says that though parts of Western Queensland have been lucky enough to receive some rainfall, other parts have completely missed out. “We were up there last year on the Father’s Day weekend and were aware that some of them haven’t had much rain, there are still pockets of drought.

“We do an Australia Day Hay Run each year as part of what we do and we go wherever we’re needed most.

“Some farmers in this region have missed out on the recent rains and are in their tenth year straight of drought, still battling to hold on to what stock they have left.

“They’re used to drought out here, it’s part of the normal cycle, but it’s not normal for it to drag out for this long.

“Our drivers and crew are each giving up a week of their time to make a difference and, most importantly, to show these farmers that someone cares.”

Cockerell takes part in the organisation’s various hay runs throughout the year, driving his 2007 Western Star (pictured below).

The generous group of Australia Day Hay Run volunteers will deliver to approximately 25 properties in the Winton, Muttaburra, Hughenden and Richmond areas.

“The people we visit are obviously very grateful. Sometimes we get tears and we almost always get invited in for a cup of tea and a chat. Besides the value of the hay, it’s a good boost for their mental state knowing that there’s other people out there who care about them too.”

For those wanting to get involved with Need For Feed, there are many ways to assist. As Need For Feed is run by volunteers, it relies on donations to continue its great work. Whether it be a donation of hay, one truck or several that can take part in a hay run, or a monetary donation, every bit helps. To find out more, please visit the Need For Feed website or Facebook page.

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