SPREADING JOY: Aussie Helpers are stepping in this Christmas to help drought-stricken farmers. Photo Contributed
SPREADING JOY: Aussie Helpers are stepping in this Christmas to help drought-stricken farmers. Photo Contributed

Aussie Helpers spreads joy to drought-stricken farmers

RURAL charity Aussie Helpers have stepped in to bring some cheer to Christmas for drought-stricken farmers, launching an appeal to raise 500 Christmas hampers.

The ‘Make a Farmer’s Christmas Special’ appeal is designed to raise much-needed funds and goods for drought-affected farmers and their families across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Everyone in the community has the option to purchase hampers to the value of $50, $100 or $500, containing food for Christmas, toys, stock feed, visa cards to buy gifts and other items.

Aussie Helpers Chief Executive Officer Tash Kocks said Australia’s farmers continued to do it tough, and Aussie Helpers was committed to supporting them through the drought.

Recent statistics released by the State Government show that 66.1 per cent of Queensland is currently drought-declared.

“Christmas is supposed to be a time that’s filled with happiness and joy, but for many of our farming families this time of year can be a very emotional and challenging one,” Ms Kocks said.

“It’s those same families who farm the food that we all look forward to at this time of year, so this Christmas we are encouraging Australians to remember and appreciate their hard work.

“With such large parts of our country begging for drought relief, it’s going to take a lot of support from communities across Australia to keep our farmers afloat.”

Supporting the appeal is celebrity chef Alistair McLeod, best known for TV shows The Great Day Out and Ready Steady Cook.

Mr McLeod, who is passionate about Australian agriculture and supporting primary food producers, said it was important to create understanding around how the drought affects everyone, including those living in urban regions and cities.

“The drought doesn’t only impact those on the land. When our farmers are suffering from drought, we all suffer,” Mr McLeod said.

“They’re are the ones who dedicate their lives to putting food on our plate so that we can enjoy special times like Christmas where sharing good food is how we celebrate and show love to our family and friends.”

Ms Kocks, who regularly visits farmers in drought-declared areas to deliver donations and provide support, has seen first-hand the devastation caused by the drought. She said families were being torn apart.

“The drought is just totally devastating. That’s the only way to put it,” she said.

“Our farmers are in crisis and all you need to do is drive through these areas to see just how dry it is. It’s destroying people’s livelihoods.”

“With such large parts of our country begging for drought relief, it’s going to take a lot of support from communities across Australia to keep our farmers afloat,” Ms Kocks said.

“Even the smallest of donations will make a difference, so please dig deep this Christmas and donate to the ‘Make a Farmer’s Christmas Special’ appeal to support our farmers in need this festive season.”

To find out more about the Aussie Helpers ‘Make a Farmer’s Christmas Special’ appeal, visit aussiehelpers.org.au.