THE crisis for Gippsland’s dairy farmers hasn’t gone away.
Granted, the season has been just about as good as it could have been and there are green shoots appearing on the world market as well.
But with little or no money in the monthly milk cheque to pay for basic requirements, CFA brigades across District 8 and the state’s Lions Clubs have seen a need – the Need for Feed!
Not for the cows themselves, because thankfully we have seen one of the most bountiful silage and hay harvests on record this season.
It’s the proud dairy farmers themselves who need help simply putting food in the cupboard and on the table.
At the Wonthaggi Fire Brigade, they are getting right behind the Lions’ special ‘Need for Feed’ campaign and so can you by donating non-perishable food items – including canned food and packaged food – and leaving it at collection points around the area.
These include the Wonthaggi Newsagency in Murray Street and National Tiles/Dollar Curtains in McKenzie Street.
At last Saturday’s Wonthaggi Show, former Wonthaggi CFA Captain, Bill Watson, launched the appeal locally and he’s urged the community to get right behind it.
“We’ve linked hands with the Lions’ clubs on this and it’s spreading right across CFA District 8 and we’re now asking local people to support it as well,” said Mr Watson last Saturday.
“We’re asking the community to donate non-perishable food for the needy farmers.
“We’re only four days into it and the response already has been fantastic. We’re on board. I know Corinella is as well as well and others such as Rye and Hastings. More will follow. It’s an important cause,” he said.
“And the beauty of this appeal is that it’s going to Gippsland farmers.”
Mr Watson said the ‘Need for Feed’ was a Lions’ clubs initiative, and they’d appointed a special team of people to administer it, including Korumburra Lions’ Club member, Katie Glassock, who was a member of the Need for Feed organising group.
“We are delighted to have the support of the local CFA brigades and we can see the appeal expanding rapidly in this area,” said Ms Glassock, also on hand to chat to show goers last Saturday.
The Lions are hoping more CFA brigades put up their hands to help by establishing food collection centres in their areas.
The Need for Feed campaign isn’t new, according to Katie, it has been used to help farming communities in a variety of ways since it was founded in 2006.
In December 2006, founder Graham Cockerell, donated and delivered one truck load of hay which was distributed by the Cowwar Toongabbie Lions Club to farmers burnt out in their area.
The problem was that it was only five bales of hay for each farmer.
Graham returned to his home determined to round up others to help make a difference. Neighbor Barry Medwin, who lost his own wife and daughter in the 1983 Ash Wednesday Fires, donated the next semi load of hay and Graham’s hot-rodding mate Doug Hamilton suggested a Bush Fire Benefit which raised $23.000.
A local newspaper then published a story on the events entitled ‘Need for Feed’ and the name and on-going project was born.
Every year since they’ve railed and raised funds or necessary goods and services for fire, drought and flood relief but unlike the years when truckloads of hay did the trick, it’s the dairy farming families themselves that now need the help.
And you’re help could make all the difference.
The latest appeal will soon have a presence on the website but for the moment, you can leave donated food at the two Wonthaggi locations – Wonthaggi Newspower and Wonthaggi National Tiles/Dollar Curtains, or contact your local CFA brigade.