Australians young and old are rallying around the country’s battling farmers hit hardest by the drought with schemes to raise relief money.
One such scheme – a simple campaign driven by the popularity of a humble pub dish called Parma For A Farmer – has sparked a groundswell of support.
Eat a chicken parmigiana and registered pubs and clubs across the nation have pledged to donate a dollar for every one sold to the ‘Buy a Bale’ campaign, which is aimed at helping Aussie farmers, primarily by helping those struggling to pay the bills and feed their livestock.
Meanwhile, the #parma4afarma hashtag trending on Twitter and Facebook is proving fertile ground for spreading the word as more hotels and clubs join the fundraising effort.
The campaign is the brainchild of Amanda Kinross, who went public with her idea just over a week ago, and has since seen the Parma for a Farmer Facebook page going gangbusters.
English born Ms Kinross, who moved with her Australian husband to Australia 25 years ago, has been overwhelmed by the response to “what was just an idea”.
“A week ago, I was just a Mum,” she told news.com.au on Monday night, after spending the day fielding enquiries and snatching an hour to feed the kids (she didn’t give them parmas — “that was last night”).
She said her family aren’t farmers, but live in a rural area, and she had watched and read coverage of the drought with increasing sadness.
Another scheme which was started by children at a Sydney school has raised more than $60,000.
Jack Berne, a grade four student at St John the Baptist Catholic School in Freshwater, was the instigator of Fiver for a Farmer, and was inspired to help after learning about the struggles of those on the land in class.
Last week, Jack wrote a letter to media outlets as he tried to generate support for the cause after telling his mum that their teacher always tells them, “we can use our small and mighty voices”.
The 10-year-old wrote: “I heard that there are kids that are skipping school to help out on their farms. Kids that are our age!”
“My school mates and I want to fundraise for the Farmers – “A fiver for a Farmer” – but we need your help!
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Many charities have set up fundraising efforts for drought-stricken farmers, here are some of them:
• Help buy hay, water, groceries and diesel through Buy a Bale
• Sponsor food hampers, care packs, store vouchers and feed through Drought Angels
• Funds from Australian Red Cross’s Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal will be distributed where they are needed most
• Go to Frontiers Service for information on how you can help the drought crisis
• Money given to Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal will go to projects like repairing local meeting places, hosting events for farms, skill development to generate alternative income, mental health workers and paying for excursions and books so school kids don’t miss out
• Donations to Aussie Helpers help farmers with equipment, food and emotional support
• People can donate feed, non-perishable goods and money to the Lions Club’s Need for Feed