CONVOY WITH A CAUSE

Toni Stone and Joanne Orme at Duff’s Mitre 10 Narrandera, with the collection tin for Need for Feed. As soon as she heard of the Need for Feed Hay Run store manager Leigh Stone responded instantly by placing a donation tin in the store. Gay Heald and Melissa Close of Close Pharmacy loading the 30 care packs the pharmacy donated for Need for Feed Hay Run participants to take to farming women in drought areas of the state.

The Lions Need for Feed convoy will start arriving in Narrandera late tomorrow afternoon to a rousing reception from locals and a bevy of donations to take to drought-stricken farmers.

Convoy organiser Linda Ryder confirmed yesterday that more than 100 trucks plus an unknown number of utilities will be stopping in Narrandera overnight on Friday en route to the New England region.

Narrandera Lions Club expects to cater for at least 170 drivers and passengers on their way to deliver hay and essential supplies as well as gifts to farmers hit by the drought.

Lion Neil Davison, who has been co-ordinating the local effort, said the Lions were used to this type of catering effort and had the equipment and manpower to do it, helped by many locals who had put their hands up to assist with the catering.

“We will no doubt be joined by Narrandera Rotarians and Soroptimists and many other generous helpers who have offered to help serve the convoy participants with dinner and breakfast,” he said.

“It will require a big effort as the participants will be arriving at various times throughout the night and leaving early the next morning, so we would welcome any offers of help.” Mr Davison praised the efforts of Narrandera residents Gordon and Vi Bobbin in seeking donations for Need for Feed and the catering effort.

“Gordon and Vi have been unstoppable in their efforts to drum up donations for this very worthy cause,” he said.

Freedom Foods near Leeton, the Golden Apple Supa IGA Supermarket at Leeton, Riverina Fresh, Pacific Fresh at Leeton and Berri hav all come on board to donate pallets of their products, citrus and juices as well as milk and eggs.

Narrandera’s Vinnies Fruitz, Narrandera Bakery and Moses and Son offered fruit and vegetables, bread and salt mix etc for stock, together with the other generous local businesses mentioned in last week’s Argus. Narrandera Gourmet Meats has offered a discount on meat for catering.

“Overall, it’s been a massive effort by businesses and locals with their generous donations of goods and voluntary manpower,” Mr Davison said.

“However, we would still welcome any offers of donations and assistance – even if it’s just with clearing the tables and washing up on Friday night and Saturday morning,” he said.

Ms Ryder also commended the community for their support of the Need for Feed cause and invited locals to drop off any donations of money or goods for drought stricken farmers to the Narrandera Showground on Friday afternoon.

“We are all volunteers ourselves so we appreciate the efforts of other volunteers,” she said.

There has been a lot of discussion lately on social media and in the mainstream media about where all the drought fundraising is going and how it’s being spent.

Ms Ryder gave an assurance that all donations went to the cause because Lions Need for Feed was one of only three drought aid organisations that had no administrative costs.

“We have been operating since 2006 and ever since all the donations we get have gone direct to the people in need.”

The other two organisations which are volunteers groups are the Country Women’s Association and Burrumbuttock Hayrunners.

“At Need for Feed we were honoured to be selected as the first recipients of $500,000 of the public fundraising by the TODAY show, Rotary Around Australia and the National Farmers’ Federation, based on us being 100% volunteer, with 100% going to farmers in need,” Ms Ryder said.

“Last week we bought more hay over from Tasmania, we’re doing the same again this week and will continue to do that every week for the foreseeable future.”

This weekend, to coincide with Father’s Day, Need for Feed volunteers in about 150 vehicles will deliver more than 100 truck loads of hay and other supplies from one side of drought affected NSW to the other on the convoy coming through Narrandera. Trucks and their drivers will come from South Australia, Tasmania, NSW and Victoria.

According to the Need for Feed Facebook page they are currently actively buying and negotiating to buy more fodder and in the market for forward contracts in all states.

“So if you’ve got some for sale let us know what you’ve got,” Ms Ryder said.

“We are all volunteers with 100% going to our farmers as this is a project of Lions so there are no admininistration fees. We all have jobs and families etc but being part of the team we are working on this pretty much 24 /7.

“It’s a mammoth task and we can only get to you if you are registered. If you need help please go to our website www.needforfeed.org and register for assistance. The same applies if you want to make a donation or help out in some way,” Ms Ryder said.

Neil Davison can be contacted on 0424030289 or email nsdavison089@gmail.com Don’t forget to turn out late tomorrow to welcome and show your support for the Need for Feed convoy!

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