Just a few days after a successful mission to the Upper Hunter Shire in NSW, the Aussie Hay Runners (AHR) are rallying the troops again to answer the call for help in the Port Macquarie region.
The first wave of 34 trucks will travel to their meet up point of Jugiong on Thursday, October 26.
The next morning the convoy will set off via the Hume Highway with two designated rest stops, Marulan and Bulahdelah.
They then travel through Sydney via the M7 and M2 at around 11am, then onto the M1 passing through Hexham around 1pm, with a rest stop in the township of Bulahdelah at around 2pm before arriving in Wauchope by 4pm.
That same night and the next morning the AHR will be well looked after by the wonderful Wauchope Lions Club who will kindly provide dinners and breakfasts.
Saturdays will be spent unloading and distributing before they head back south.
“AHR are proud to help our farmers; it’s not a hand out – it’s a hand up,” said founder Linda Widdup ,who lives in country Victoria.
Originally just the one run was planned for this area, however, due to the overwhelming number of applications requiring help, a second run has been scheduled with the same amount of trucks for two weeks later from November 9.
The runs are made possible with support from the NSW Rural Assistance Authority, Scott Stevens and the Heyfield Lions Club, Ray Akers of Gippsland Hay Relief, Port Macquarie locals Lisa Baker and Sandra Hanson and Widdup and her team of volunteers.
Combined, these two runs to the Port Macquarie area will see 68 trucks travelling a total of 166,964km, carrying 3560 bales of hay valued at $338,200, directly helping 335 farmers and their families.
Sadly, however, some farmers will have still missed out.
“It’s just impossible to keep up, we do the best we can to assist as many as we can” Widdup added.
There are another three runs planned for the remainder of 2023 and the first two for 2024 are already locked in.
To make a donation of hay, visit the AHR Facebook page here, or email email@example.com for more information.
“If you see them on the road, it really is a sight to see, make sure to show your support with a toot and a wave,” Widdup said.
Now in its fourth year, AHR are proudly supported by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority, Ray Akers of Gippsland Hay Relief and are a project of the largest Lions Club in rural Victoria, Heyfield Lions Club.