Charities showing the true Aussie spirit during drought

In a time when a single drop of rain was as valuable as gold, the Australian public rallied behind its farmers to raise a staggering $10.1 million for the Drought Relief Appeal in August 2018.

Almost a year on AustralianFarmers has dropped in to speak with some of the charities who used those donations to help farmers along the east coast of Australia get through the nation’s worst drought in living memory.

Need For Feed

The Lions Club’s Need For Feed program received $1 million from the Drought Relief Appeal, which was entirely spent on delivering fodder to drought stricken farmers in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

Need For Feed’s Chairman Graham Cockerell said that some farmers were reduced to tears when fodder was delivered to their properties.

“We gave each farmer 10 or 12 bales of hay each. We know it’s not going to rescue any particular farm business but it takes the pressure off them for a while and shows them that people care.

“Some farms we went to were run by one farmer who had no one else to talk to. Because of the drought they didn’t have time to leave the farm so if we had the time we would sit and have a cup of tea with them,” Mr Cockerell said.

On Father’s Day weekend last year Need For Feed organised 90 trucks to deliver fodder throughout NSW and on the Australia Day weekend more than 100 trailers of hay, including 47 road trains, made a visit to the worst affected properties in NSW and Queensland.


The Country Women’s Association (CWA) of NSW added $700,000 to their Drought Aid grants program thanks to the Drought Relief Appeal’s donations.

According to the CWA of NSW Chief Executive Officer Danica Leys, around 7000 farmers or farming dependant contractors received cash grants of up to $3000 thanks to the Drought Appeal donations.

The CWA of NSW have received $11.5 million in donations to their Drought Aid grant program overall since July 2018. Photo: CWA of NSW.

“The cash grants covered people’s household bills such as school fees, groceries, medical bills, electricity and rates. Basically expenses that are hard to scale back on and will be there whether it rains or not.

“It not only helps out the farming families, it also helps the farming communities that they live and operate in.” Ms Leys said.


Through the Drought Relief Appeal, Givit received a total of $250,000. Givit is a non-for-profit organisation which anonymously connects those who have goods to donate to people in need.

The donations gave more than 300 families gift cards for urgent grocery items and school uniforms, stationary supplies for 125 Schools of the Air students, more than 200 toys for kids in remote areas at Christmas and fuel vouchers for families to travel to medical appointments, complete school drop offs and attend community events.

Givit NSW Drought Manager Scott Barrett mustering up school items for rural school kids. Photo: Givit.

According to Givit, the Mt Hope family of five were overwhelmed when an airconditioned  “school house’’ pulled up on the remote property, 600km west of Sydney, describing it was a dream come true.

Givit have played a significant role in supporting children in drought stricken areas to consistently attend school and support small businesses within the communities.

“The drought was affecting rural communities, not just farmers, and they are all feeling the financial strain.

“These guys are having such a tough time at the moment, and it’s good to give them some good news for a change,” Givit NSW Drought Manager Scott Barrett said.

For the full list of the Drought Relief Appeal recipients and information about the Appeal read the below articles.

Drought Relief Appeal raises $10.1 million.

The 2018 Drought Appeal re-cap

Andrea Martinello

Andrea Martinello

Andrea is the Community & Engagement Officer at the National Farmers' Federation.

Add comment

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.