The last month has been quite busy as the needs of the farmers in our area is still urgent.
Rex responded to a request from a farmer in Stockdale and we were able to give them bales of hay as well has a bag of sheep pellets, purchased from Brownwigg. We may be able to help them even further as we have passed on their details to the District who have some funds available for individuals in need, so keep your fingers crossed.
Bonnie had a chance conversation with someone in Melbourne and realised that they had some contacts in common, so Bonnie spoke about what our club is doing to assist farmers. On returning home she e-mailed him with a copy of our Farmers Relief Report and this has resulted in a $500.00 donation for the cause from Midfield Meats in Warnambool. It only goes to show that you never know when you share our message what impact it has and where it can lead.
Gillian has made contact with Janne Speirs from District and we are hopeful of receiving further funds from the Disaster Relief Fund
As you may recall we made contact with a Paul Wilms, through a Facebook post and he graciously transported three loads of hay to us and refused to take any payment. He recently contact Bonnie saying that he had sourced 60 bales of sileage which he wanted to donate to our farmers and the transport will also be donated by John Duff & Co. It is always heartening to see the generosity of some people and our farmers would be glad to know that they are still in the hearts of the people outside of our area
A Lorraine Winter from the Fairview Village in Warragul had raised an amount of $560.00 and wanted to donate to our farmers, but specifically to young families in the affected areas, who might be struggling. To that end Bonnie has been in touch with contacts in the Ensay area and also we might be able to source names from the Swifts Creek School. I am sure that the recipients will be very grateful
Recently we received a call from a gentleman from Lilydale, who had got our details from Ron Haines, the Past President of the RC of Lilydale. He has a small block and is cutting it for the first time and keen to donate the grass/hay to our farmers here, so we may have to pay for baling and cartage. Great to see that the RC of Lilydale are still helping
Rex reported that we have 60 bales sitting in the Donalda’s yard but no doubt they will go soon. He also told us that the recent fires have added further stress to the farmers, with hay sheds burnt along with much needed feed.
If all members could spread the message of what we are doing, it will ensure that we can continue a bit longer with our aid, you just never know where the next contact will come from
During the last month we received communications from the Rotary Clubs of Portland and Foster, who both wanted to send donations but were keen to know more information. Luckily we have the report that was produced at the end of last year and it really says it all about what we have achieved. Portland were having an open garden day on 25 October, but as yet have not said how much money was raised, any funds would be used specifically for the farmers in the Bairnsdale area, who in Rex’s opinion are the ones most in need at the moment. Foster have replied requesting that we assist farmers in their area, but we are not sure that is possible, so further communication will be in order.
Rex has been in contact with Greg Hunt who has a connection with Mount Eliza and it would appear that the Mornington Peninsula have hay available that is over 12 months old and some farmers may be willing to donate, or we purchase at a good price. Rex thought that we might even get cartage donated. Rex has also been able to source 40 bales at $132.00 which is a good price during this time. Also there may be the possibility of rye grass hay from our own Silt Jetties, 60 bales at $120.00.  Our funds are down to $13,000.00 so to be able to continue we will need to access some more dollars.
The club received an e-mail from a Rotarian from District 9810 who is thinking of settling in Metung and was considering a fundraiser for drought relief, so we may be able to tap into that too. Any member who has a contact or can assist with accessing more funds please let us know.
Sally Dell had an idea that we could give family tickets to Gumbuya World to families in drought affected areas, to be used when suitable to them, but we are not sure how many farming families have young children or grandchildren that would be interested. It would seem that young farmers are becoming few and far between, which is sad but a sign of the times. We are still committed to keep on helping all those affected by this continuing drought, it seems as soon as we get rain, wind or heat destroys any benefit.
All hay received to date has been distributed, the committee are looking at sourcing more bales from local suppliers and perhaps approach Hastings Westernport again
Well this must be a first, there are no bales of hay left at Donalda’s as all from the last load including the extra two from the 4 x 4 Wheel Drive Club in Yarram, have all been distributed. The pallet of dog food has been dispatched to the Ensay area and will be distributed to farmers in need. A big thank you to all farmers who have helped us with all this, as they picked up the bales from Mirboo North and then distributed to farmers in the Ensay area.
Rex received a thank letter from a very appreciative farmer who received some of the molasses that we purchased and told us that it had certainly helped to get his cattle through the winter. We still have about $18,000.00 in funds and we will now use it the best and most effective way possible. When Patricia and I spoke at the Probus Club of Paynesville on Wednesday a lovely man there gave us a $100.00 donation after hearing about what we have been doing for the farmers, so it will continue
The committee is back up to full strength with Rex, John and Bonnie back from warmer climes and getting back into the swing of things. We have had a donation from the Rotary Club of Warnambool Daybreak, one of the first clubs to donate and they understand that things are still tough in our area. As well as thanking them for their donation a copy of the Farmers Relief report was e-mailed so that it can be distributed to their members. On that note we have started distributing our report to the various organisations that have helped us over the last 12 months.
Rex has got word of more hay, but small bales, in the Yarram area that we can purchase at a discounted price, these size bales are a bit more of a problem to load and transport. As of last week Rex is working on trying to organise a group of farmers who need the hay but can transport it themselves, similar to what he organised last year with a load from Glengarry.
Some of you may have seen an article in the paper about local traders doing another Shopping Discount Days promotion with proceeds coming to our project, but on further investigation it would appear that it will not go ahead. The article in the paper was supposed to have been stopped when it was clear that it was not happening, I do not know the reason, which is a shame, but our local traders are also doing it tough.
And so it continues, another load of hay arrived on Wednesday, with most of it already allocated to needy farmers. This hay has  been sourced once again by the Rotary Club of Hastings/Westernport, we have paid for the load plus the cartage. Rex, Bonnie and John have all left for well deserved holidays and Rex have left his hay “black book” with Gillian so hopefully all will go well while he away in far north Western Australia.

We have produced a booklet of how this project performed during 2018-2019 and it is mind boggling, if you were not there on Sunday and did not get a copy, there are plenty of spares which will be in the cupboard at the club, or I can send an electronic copy. Pass around to anyone that might be interested as the drought is definitely NOT over, the price of hay is rising so we are still in need of more funds to continue with the good work. Any ideas on how we can further help, do you know anyone doing it tough, our small committee will be working as hard as ever this year
At the commencement of our meeting on Tuesday we welcomed visitor Paul Brennand, the District Co-ordinator for Freemasons Victoria, who presented our club with a cheque for $600.00 towards our Farmers Relief project. The continuing generosity of the Freemasons is greatly appreciated. We were also given a cheque for $1000.00 from the East Gippsland Art Society and Rex managed to get a photo opportunity which was published in the local news.
Another load of hay is due to arrive on Sunday, at Donalda Motors, which was sourced by the Rotary Club of Hastings/Westernport and we shared the cost with them. Once again Warren from Donalda’s offered the services of his truck and will be collecting the load, just for the cost of fuel. Rex and Gillian managed to catch up with Paddy from Hastings/Westernport at the recent District Changeover, as both missed him when he attended a recent meeting. It was a chance to thank him and his club, he was happy to report that due to their involvement with this project, the flow on effect may be four new members for them. A win, win situation all round ! It was discussed at the Board Meeting as to whether providing hay was still the best way to go, but Rex assured us all that the farmers really need it and it is getting harder to source at a reasonable cost, so the good work will continue.