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“A bushfire is one thing, a flood is one thing, but a drought is horrific and slowly deteriorates your wellbeing”. – Southern Downs Council Mayor, Tracy Dobie.
Last year the NSW drought was making headlines and a lot of support for farmers was raised. The NSW drought is now long out of the news, but recently the NSW drought was declared to be “the worst NSW drought in history.”
Donations raised through Fresh Hope have mainly been distributed by Dubbo Church of Christ to farmers and families in need. Please read the latest update from Pastor Allan Vincent on the ongoing crisis and please continue to give generously.
From Pastor Allan Vincent:
“Firstly let me thank you for the continued support that Fresh Hope have shown towards those struggling in this drought. The funds that you have sent are gratefully received and will help in many ways.
Since I have been involved in this ministry, I have seen and heard so many stories that touches both ends of the spectrum of emotions as this drought continues to impacts individuals, families, businesses and communities all through the outback.
A recent story highlighted the growing problem of towns that have already – or will soon run out of water. For example, our closest dam that supplies water to Dubbo – Burrendong dam – is currently sitting at 5%.
Over the last twelve months or so, I have been working with individuals, families and several agencies in supporting those who are in need. This has included funding for food, hay, some business costs and gifts for families etc.
I have partnered with agencies including Samaritan’s Purse, Hope Street, Emmanuel Care, Rural Counselling Service, Macquarie Home Stay etc as they have families contact them in need.
The emphasis has always been to help those struggling with their mental health as they deal with depression, despair, loss of hope and self esteem. Talking with one farming family that I have been helping for some time, they responded to my question of how things are travelling by saying “today was a good day – we didn’t have to hide the guns”. For so many – they just don’t talk about it. Rural finance counsellors are now receiving training for mental health first aid to try and spot those who are at risk of suicide.
I have also funded a person to work within a business that provides short term accommodation and support for families who have had to come in from their properties for medical reasons. To be able to pastorally care for those who not only have had to cope with the effects of drought – but now are dealing with medical issues including cancer, farm accidents, palliative care and heart attacks has seen great fruit come from this. She has helped families on both ends of the scale – from those who have come to have a baby – to providing food and clothing for those who have absolutely nothing and are being sent home to die. So far she has been in contact with more than 200 families.”