9 April 2019
We have taken delivery of 14 loads for a total of 491 bales which has or is being distributed to needy farmers. Two loads only arrived on 1st and 3rd April so they are the bales still being distributed. As well as that a load of "Molofos" has been distributed to Buchan farmers. 23 farmers were very grateful for that effort. We are arranging to do the same for Tambo Valley.
Donalda Motors have given a huge contribution by unloading and loading the hay and storage of the hay on arrival.
 
2 April 2019
The first load of Molafos should have been delivered to Buchan on Friday and they should have some photos and they were going to write up an article for the local paper. Another load of 34 large bales is waiting for pickup and if not already in Bairnsdale will be delivered this week with the help of Rob Bennet from Lilydale. As a side note, I was speaking to Ron Haines from Lilydale and he is also on the Gold Coast at Currumbin, so who knows we may be meeting up for a coffee.
 
The organising for the Musical Bingo night is going along well, with Michelle W reporting that she has been circulating the flyer at her work place. After looking at the hall and possible table set up we will have long tables all facing the front, Bingo is a solo game so their will be every man for himself. We are hoping to also have raffles and perhaps a small trivia sheet thrown in for good luck. Let all your friends know, but we will have to keep track of attendees so that we have enough chairs for everyone. We have asked all members to see if they can round up some prizes, so far Cec has given us a box of goodies and Chocky Sweet Box, a basket of chocolate. Let’s make this fun filled night, plus raise money for Farmers Relief.
 
So far we have received $91,000.00 towards the cause, thankyou to all those generous organisations and people, it has been very heart warming
26 March 2019
This week has seen some of the funds from the Shopping Days hit our bank account, so far we have received $3688 with another $200 being donated from the sale of a painting online. Gillian and Bernie Eastman were interviewed by the Channel Nine Gippsland News, and a short segment was aired on Wednesday evening on the local news. From that coverage we have heard of an organisation that had done a fund raising and may donate the $4000.00 to Farmers Relief.
 
The Molafos has been ordered and the first load paid for, which will be delivered to Buchan this week. Through Gippsland Farmers Relief we were given the name of a farmer who has 45 bales of last years hay that she is donating to us and our good friend Paul Wilms from Trafalgar is willing to cart it to Bairnsdale. So together with the 34 bales due to arrive from our Lilydale contact, the yard at Donalda’s will be full.
 
19 March 2019
Another eventful week, with the second load of 40, 4 x 4 bales arriving on Thursday, once again transported to Bairnsdale free of charge, courtesy of Paul Wilms, these bales came from farmer Joan in Yellingbo. Rex has been very busy on the phone and after contacting all the farmers, only four bales are left. As always Rex finds it an emotional roller coaster as he contacts farmers and listens patiently to the all too familiar stories of hardship.
 
The first tanker of Molafos will be arriving this week, to a farmer in Buchan who is acting as a depot, where 21 farmers will come with their own containers and decant the liquid supplement from the tanker. The second tanker, probably arriving the week after, will be going to the designated depot in Ensay, ready for collection. The farmers themselves have been instrumental in organising the containers from various sources and will clean after the first pickup and transfer to Ensay for the second pickup. Without the grant money from 9800 we would not have even contemplated this and thank you to Sandra Livingstone for putting the proposition to our club.
 
Last Tuesday we had President Ron from Lilydale, place an order for another 34 large bales from a source near them, at our cost and he has been able to secure free cartage to Bairnsdale, the business in question, just wants to help.
 
I went down the main street Saturday morning and spoke with Bernie Eastman the organiser of the Shopping Days promotion that he organised with 16 different shops participating. I might have some figures by Tuesday, as each shop will bank the money, individually into our account, but he said that there seemed to be more activity than usual on the street and in some cases people may not have bought anything, but gave money as they wished to donate for the cause. Thank you Bernie for putting this all together and whatever we make will be a bonus.
 
I was also contacted by a lady, who after seeing the article in the paper about the Shopping Days, offered one of her paintings which she is going to auction on line and give all the proceeds to the Farmers Relief. Once again it has been overwhelming the generosity of all concerned.
 
12 March 2019
Another busy week one way or another. On Friday, 4 x 4 bales arrived at Donald Motors from a delightful farmer in Yellingbo, Joan, who I had the pleasure of speaking to prior to it arriving. Through our Facebook post an offer of free transport was received from Paul, of PC’S Farm Contractors in Warragul, he went to Yellingbo on Wednesday, helped load the bales and then delivered them to Bairnsdale on Friday morning. John Walker and I had a chance to meet him in person and thank him for his time and generosity, considering during the week he was also helping at the Bunyip fires, some people are just givers. He will get the other 40 bales next week and have them here by Thursday.
 
Talking to President Ron from Lilydale it looks as if he has been offered another 12 large bales at no cost, with the transportation being paid for by a business in Kyneton. He is hopeful of sourcing a further 28 to make it a full load to bring down. What a bonus the association with Lilydale has been.
 
It was confirmed that the shopping days in Bairnsdale, organised by Bernie Eastman, will go ahead on Thursday 14 March to Saturday 16 March and about 16 participating stores, with a percentage of the sales going to the Farmers Relief. Bernie is organising the advertising and asked if we could get hay bales to put outside the shops concerned, that might prove to be problematic so we will see what else we can organise.
 
I spoke to the principal of a local school, where parents are wanting to donate back the $375.00 from the government, as cash to the school, who have identified needy farming families and will distribute to them. She was grateful for the information that I was able to give her on what we have been doing and will use some of this in their work.
 
Another contact through DG Janne, from Tania of the Australian Animal Rescue, who is hoping to access food for dogs, cats and chickens that can be brought to Bairnsdale for distribution. She did a similar mission last year, delivering two tonne of feed to the Rotary Club of Coonabarabran and as well as helping us will be dealing with the Rotary Club of Hamilton to assist there too.
 
All very encouraging as the drought only seems to get worse, with fires being added into the mix
 
5 March 2019
Another good week, as all of the promised money has hit out bank account, plus an anonymous donation of $258.00 which will all come in very useful.
 
After talking to our contact in Buchan it was suggested that we could assist more farmers by purchasing two loads of Molafos which can assist up to 50 farmers. The supplement will arrive in tankers to a central point in both the Buchan and possibly Swifts Creek areas, Rex is sorting that out at the moment. The farmers will come with their own containers and fill from the tankers, each load will cost about $10,000.00, which thankfully we can now afford. As always we listen to the needs of the farmers and change the type of help that we can give.
 
Rex has also been talking to a contact in the Meerlieu area and although some are doing OK, there are some that are doing it extremely tough. As yet we have not helped too many farmers in that area so no doubt we will be in the near future. Bonnie is still trying to organise the freight on the hay from Yellingbo and is following several contacts to see what can be done, as they can only be collected on a Monday when the tractor driver works on the farm.
 
26 February 2019
What a difference a week makes in the life of the Farmers Relief committee. After making several submissions, plus talking to various Rotarians and clubs at the conference, we can confirm that we are receiving the following donations:
District 9820                                            $5000.00
RC Drouin                                                $7000.00
District 9800 Drought Relief Fund           $30,000.00       
From our Facebook post                            $1450.00
We have also had communications with other members of the public and organisations which could bring in more funds. It has certainly been heart-warming to see how the local community is responding to the dire circumstances that a lot of farmers are in.
 
Talking to Ron Haines, President of RC Lilydale has resulted in another 80 of 4 x 4 bales, offered at a lower cost from a farmer in Yellingbo. So now Bonnie is in the throes of trying to organise free or discounted cartage to get it here for the farmers. Rex has once again been in contact with farmers to find out what and where the most need is.
 
On Friday night we commenced the planning on a fundraiser to be held on Saturday 27 April at the St John’s Church Hall. This will be a musical bingo and other games night, which has been put together by Michelle W, based on an event held by a Rotaractor Club. She has been researching the music, setting up tickets, advertising flyers etc and we will let you all know the full details soon. We need to get as many people there to make the night a success.
 
19 February 2019
This week 40 of the bales which we received have been allocated to five farmers in Buchan, who will organise their own transportation from Bairnsdale to a central point in Buchan where it can be picked up by the individual farmers. Rex is in consultation with the farmer who donated the hay and we have agreed to pay $1200.00 towards the cost of the cutting, raking and baling, so that means not only has he donated 100 bales but has paid $1500.00 towards the costs, very generous. Hopefully the next load will arrive next week, ready for distribution.
 
Gillian has been in contact with various clubs/organisations over the last week, talking money and although we have not heard anything back at this time, we are hopeful to receive some substantial funds so that we can continue our good work. Gillian posted an article on our Facebook page about the dire situation here with that evocative photo of Brian’s, as at today we have reached 24,000 people and had 5100 engagements. Some of the comments have been encouraging, even some one in Townsville offering us some of their rain, if only!!!
 
It was wonderful to get a phone call from our contact in the CWA Panmure, who donated funds to us before Christmas, just wanting to know how we were going. She made a very interesting point that there has been little to no media about East Gippsland and the drought situation, but realised that things may still be in crisis. It is disappointing that there will be relief from the rates, due this month, for farmers in East Gippsland and Wellington Shire, another burden they have to bear.
 
Keep your fingers crossed that we can keep up the good work for a bit longer
 
 
12 February 2019
On Wednesday 40 bales of hay arrived in Bairnsdale and are now stored at Donalda Motors, ready for pickup by the farmers. Rex has been on the phone again to our contacts in the various areas, identifying those in need. As time has passed even the farmers that thought they were well prepared and might get through it  are experiencing hardship. We are in the process of trying to access more money from funds that might be available to us, so keep your fingers crossed that something comes of it. We know that the good we have accomplished is becoming known by people outside of our area and they are impressed with what we are achieving and the depth of our aid. We will keep you updated about the fundraiser that Michelle has started planning
 
5 February 2019
What a week!! As reported at the meeting last Tuesday, our funds are running low and after we have paid for the transport on the 100 bales from Wesburn, we would be down to our last $1000.00. It was decided that this time we will charge $40.00 per bale to recipients to help with the cashflow.
Michelle W offered to organise a fund raiser, something we have not done so far, as we have been relying on donations etc. She suggested musical bingo, sounded very interesting and something we have not done before, then Brenda offered us a venue, the St Johns church hall, seems like a plan. During this last week Michelle W has been researching music and so we will need to decide on a date, plus round up more members to help.
The Rotary Club of Warnambool Daybreak confirmed that they will be sending us a substantial donation, which should arrive next week. Noel has been pleading our case at District and we will keep you updated on that one. The Rotary Club of Drouin also contacted us as they have raised funds that they would like to give to farmers in our area. I have told them what we have been doing and perhaps some may come our way.
We issued $500.00 of vouchers to a farmer from Munro that has been doing it tough and up till now was reluctant to take any help, but things are only getting worse. Anyone who saw the photo that Brian showed us at the meeting, an empty dam, which looked as if a meteor had hit it, with thirsty animals standing around, will know how bad it is.
No doubt Rex will be on the phone again soon talking to the farmers and distributing hay. As said before, we are in for the long haul to see our farmers through what is a major disaster for our area.
 
29 January 2019
We have been offered 100 bales of 4 x 4 bales of hay from a farmer in Wesburn near Yea, who has donated them to us and is willing to cover the cost of the cutting, bailing and wrapping. The farm site is difficult to take in a large truck to load the hay, but Rob Bennett from Lilydale, who has helped us before, has a plan to move the hay to a more suitable site and then organise machinery to handle the loading. Rob has also offered us a generous deal on the freight to get it to Bairnsdale, so we have given the go ahead for him to organise at the Wesburn end.
 
Rex, Bonnie and John have been working on the logistics for over a week, but we are confident that we will achieve a positive outcome. Once again the generosity of everyone involved is inspiring, but this will probably deplete our funds to almost zero, although we have had another donation promised from Warnambool Rotary which will help. Hopefully we can continue on with our good work a bit longer.
 
22 January 2019
We have received an e-mail from the Lilydale club who have been offered 100 bales of good hay at no cost, but we would have to pay for transport here. Our funds are nearly depleted so we will have to see what we can do in organising the freight and meeting costs. The need is still great in our area and the recent rain will not be of much benefit in the short term. Rex will be contacting the farmer in Yea who has the hay while John and Bonnie will try to organise transportation to Bairnsdale at as low a cost as possible. It may be that on this occasion we will charge a minimal cost per bale, to the farmers, to try and recoup some of our costs. This drought is one of the most significant events our area has at to deal with and perhaps our club should make it a priority by releasing more funds for the cause.
 
15 January 2019
Last week Rex organised another 34 bales of hay that were delivered to Donalda Motors last Monday and no doubt has been collected by the farmers in need. We received the monies promised by the CWA Panmure, so more funds to carry on the good work as it will take while for the region and farmers to get back on their feet.
 
8 January 2019
Now that the new year has started, we are back into assisting the local farmers. Although there has been some rain, several areas have not received enough to make any sort of difference. Rex has been receiving calls from farmers in need, so hopefully this week we will be purchasing more hay for distribution. More good news is that we were contacted by the Pakenham Probus Club who wanted to donate some money to our area to help with drought relief. They were given our number and now we will have some more money coming in to help with our work.
 
Some statistics to date:
 
Donations received $37,000.00, monies expended $27,000.00, so close to $10,000.00 left before our recent purchase of hay. We have distributed 464 bales of hay to date, some donated and some purchased with our funds. We have distributed $5,600.00 worth of vouchers, most of which have been redeemed. We have also facilitated the acquisition of a storage shed for the Gippsland Farmers Relief, paying the deposit required.
 
It is obvious that this drought with not be over soon and even if it is, it will take a while before the farmers are back on their feet again, so as previously stated, our club is in for the long haul.
 
 
18 December 2018
All but 10 bales of the second load of hay purchased from a local supplier has been distributed to various farmers in the area of most need. The 2 hampers that we were donated a couple of weeks ago have been allocated, one having already been delivered. The two petrol vouchers from the Omeo Ski Hire have been posted to farmers in that area, a nice gift prior to Christmas. We will be receiving a donation from the Panmure CWA, which was passed at their recent meeting, they were very impressed with what we have managed to achieve so far and how we are giving aid directly to farmers.
 
11 December 2018
Last week was quite exciting as we had a phone call from a lady in Pakenham who had a donation for us as well as a couple of food hampers, which was great, but how to get them to Bairnsdale. As luck would have it we had a contact living in Pakenham who was coming to Bairnsdale the next day, but leaving at 6.30am. No worries, after a couple of phone calls all was delivered to him on Monday night and arrived in Bairnsdale on Tuesday. Thanks to Rex for collecting from Gillian’s back patio, although Michelle went there as well and had a terrible moment when she thought it had gone missing. It is pleasing that word of what we are doing has travelled to the other end of our District, plus the generosity of people can be surprising. On Monday another phone call from Rosebud/Rye Rotary Club who want to give us a donation, thank you to the President of Sale, Jeanette, who pointed them in our direction.
 
4 December 2018
Another load of hay arrived at Donalda Motors early on Saturday morning. It was all unloaded and locked away prior to 8.30am so we were not able to greet the driver or thank Warren for coming in early to unload it. Rex is well on the way with his distribution plans. At the moment the vouchers, etc are working smoothly but no doubt with the festive season around the corner, more help will be needed. The good work shall continue.
 
27 November 2018
We have decided to purchase another load of hay from the local supplier as Rex is receiving more requests for assistance. We had a call from a Rotarian from the Warnambool area who had been approached by the Panmure CWA about donating money to the Farmers Relief. After talking to Sylvia from that organisation we may receive a donation after their meeting on 13 December. They found one of our articles on the internet, technology can be a great thing Through the grapevine we have heard of another possible donation from a local group, so we can continue on with the good work
 
20 November 2018
Last week we received a lovely thank you note from one of the farmers that had received one of our gift vouchers. The note is detailed below: I would like to thank your club sincerely as the recipient of some seven hundred dollars in drought relief. As much as the money, the gift was a touching personal consideration. Thanks again Those of us on the sub-committee were really touched by these words and it is nice to know that we are making a difference
 
13 November 2018
Since the last bulletin we have purchased another 34 bales of hay from a local supplier the other side of Sale. These were delivered a couple of weeks ago and stored at Donalda Motors. Rex has once again been busy on the phone organising farmers to collect. Last week we received names of farmers in the Munro area that might need help, so they will be contacted to see what we could do for them. At last count we still have $12,000.00 in the kitty, so a lot more help can be arranged. If anyone knows of a farmer in need please let us know.
 
30 October 2018
The latest news is that we were offered a load of medium size bales from a farmer in Glengarry, recommended to us via Gippsland Farmers Relief. Rex contacted the farmer who was willing to donate the load, but we would have to arrange transport. Through contacts, he was able to organise transport by a local farmer. It was all picked up and then taken to several farmers in Glenaladale, once again a great job done. We have received a few more donations of money from the following organisations: The Rotary Club of Trafalgar The Eagle Point Primary School The Rotary Club of Inverloch The Warragul Cake Decorators Private donation So we now have additional funds to buy hay or distribute more vouchers
 
23 October 2018
We have been offered another 36 bales of hay by the Lilydale Rotary Club, at a reduced price and discounted freight. They have now spent over $17,000.00 on this project, which has been much appreciated, so our club will be funding most of this load. It arrived on Monday and was stored at Donalda Motors, ready for pickup by local farmers.
 
Rex has been in negotiations with another local supplier and we will be purchasing more hay supplies from them as well. John Crawford has been able to give us names of sheep farmers that need help, so we will be distributing vouchers to them so that they source their own pellets. In the end we were able to use our vouchers to help pay the account for two sheep farmers, who are very grateful for the assistance.
 
9 October 2018
On Sunday our club played host to about 45 farmers and family from the Buchan, Gelantipy and Orbost areas, on what turned out to be a perfect day at the Buchan Caves Reserve, although one farmer said that he would have danced in the rain had there been any. DG Janne and AG Judy were able to be there and along with our members mixed and mingled, listening to the stories. As we all spoke to the farmers it was obvious that they are very appreciative of what we have done so far and we reassured them that we are in there for the long haul, doing what Rotary does best. The afternoon was capped off by the free raffle and distribution of many prizes – Rotary Club of Bairnsdale vouchers, Orbost Chamber of Commerce vouchers, family tickets to the Bairnsdale Archery Park, wine, chocolates, care packs, a food pack plus bags of potatoes and onions, then soccer kits for the children. A bit of a mixed bag to be sure, but everything was gratefully received by everyone there, with some farmers saying that they would be sharing with others. Thanks to the following for donating giveaways for the day – Bairnsdale Archery Park, Bairnsdale Soccer Club, Margaret Macfarlane, anonymous Bairnsdale family, Leadoux Turkeys and Gippsland Farmers Relief. Further thanks to the members of our club who helped with the day – Mark, Michelle, Rex, Cec, John, Bonnie, Tony M, Martin and Gillian. I have to say that we could not wrench the tongs off Mark who did a fabulous job of ensuring all food was cooked to perfection. The general feeling was that it was a successful event which is encouraging as we are looking at holding similar BBQs in the Omeo and Bairnsdale area
 
2 October 2018
Rex will have to be admitted to hospital to have the phone surgically removed from his ear!!
This week saw another 38 bales arrive in Bairnsdale organised by the Rotary Club of Lilydale and Rob Bennett (Lilydale). Our club will be paying half of the cost of the hay plus cartage and thank Lilydale for bringing it from a farm in Dimboola. Rob Bennett freighted the bales to us and they were unloaded at Grinters, where the farmers will be able to collect. Rex has had a busy few days phoning around to identify recipients, some farmers have even contacted up through our Facebook page. As always it is great to know that we are making a difference and with the feed back that we have been receiving we know that the farmers appreciate what we are doing. We have received a further donation from St Pauls in Sale which will go for more feed. At our Board Meeting we discussed that we should purchase pellets locally, for cattle and sheep as the price of hay escalates. All hands on deck for the BBQ on Sunday 7, October and keep your fingers crossed for good weather. We are sure that it will be a great day.
 
19 September 2018
A slightly less busy week but very productive none the less.
 
Last Tuesday another 30 bales of hay together with 4 bales of sileage arrived in Bairnsdale and were stored at Donalda Motors. During the week all 34 bales were picked up by a total of 5 farmers who were very appreciative of the feed.
 
 As you may be aware the Need for Feed project, which is run by the Lions Club of Pakenham, sent down 30 trucks of hay for our famers, we hope that it helps to raise the awareness of the plight of our farmers.
 
Plans for the BBQ on Sunday 7 October are well under way and we want to make this a memorable event for all the farmers. If anyone can get some giveaways for the day, go for it!
 
12 September 2018
Another busy week for our small committee. The last of the hay was collected by farmers on Tuesday and we made use of the time with them to get more information on what is needed. More hay will arrive on Tuesday for further distribution
 
The first 20, $100.00 vouchers were distributed to farmers in the Buchan area on Friday. After talking to a few of the locals we know that they are very appreciative of what we are doing for them
 
Through the Rotary Club of Lilydale and a contact at the Buchan CFA there should be about 100 bags of dog food coming to the area to be distributed to farmers in need. Lilydale are as excited about this joint project as we are. With other Rotary Clubs in their area, donating money, hay and other resources, plus we have had media coverage in their newspapers as well
 
5 September 2018
Once more a busy week for the Farmers Relief Committee. We have had a meeting with Melissa Ferguson the CEO of the Gippsland Farmers Relief Inc, which proved very productive and it was good to meet her face to face.
 
Our club has now facilitated the rental of a storage unit here in Bairnsdale where GFR can store the 60 food hampers that will arrive each month, to be distributed by volunteers to Buchan, Orbost and Omeo areas.
 
More businesses are coming on board with the voucher scheme we will be putting into place so that the farmers can be assisted with purchasing essentials. Once again, the generosity of people never ceases to amaze.
 
John W, Bonnie and Tony M attended a meeting in Orbost last week, the inaugural one for the Standing by Farmers Community Group. We will purchase vouchers through the Orbost Chamber of Commerce for distribution to farmers in that area. In the future we will work in with this group and the Rotary Club to do what is best for the farmers.
 
It was agreed at the last Board Meeting that the Farmers Relief Committee will disperse funds etc. at their discretion and report back to the club.
 
28 August 2018
A lot has been happening in the last week. All the bales have arrived and are stored safely. On Monday, 30 will be picked up by three farmers from Buchan, some of which will be sharing. Another 30 will go to Orbost which are the first of 70 designated for that area. We have been able to assist one farmer with cartage as he was unable to get his allocation to his farm.
 
We are now in contact with Gippsland Farmers Relief, Bairnsdale Neighbourhood House, a Buchan contact, plus a new community group that has set up in Orbost, with help from the Rotary Club there and also District 9820, utilising the expertise of the Emergency Committee and trust fund available
 
21 August 2018
As per last week, we are proud to announce that 64 large round bales of hay arrived from Lilydale, thanks to the Rotary club there and Grinters Transport, Willaton Transport and the Gippsland Truck Centre. The bales are being stored while we liaise with the necessary departments to ensure that they are distributed to the most needy. Lilydale also gave us a large cheque, so together with money from our club we are in the process of sourcing more feed which can be distributed and fuel vouchers
 
Also thankyou to John W, Bonnie, John C and Tony M for liaising with the transport companies, organising the unloading and storage of the bales, a great team effort. They will be more updates as they come to hand.
 
More bales will be arriving Tuesday !!!