Saddened by the despair that had taken over Forbes during the prolonged drought in New South Wales, Kim Lowe was determined to do something to help. She reached out to Rural Aid, a charity that assists farmers through its Farm Rescue initiative. Farm Rescue can cover anything from donating supplies to help with activities and repairs on a farm – almost anything the farmers struggle with.
The land in Forbes is arid and many of the water sources have dried up, but the long drought has not succeeded in killing people’s generosity. “My office has become like a fundraising center!” laughs Kim, co-owner of K&H Interiors and Forbes local. Lately, she’s been juggling her own business’ needs while simultaneously coordinating donations and working on the upcoming Farm Rescue initiative, to which she will channel her $1,500 Reece Local Grant.
“They’re all fiercely independent,” says Kim of the farmers. “That pride very often prevents them from opening up about the full extent of what they need. This means that apart from physical help there are instances when they also need a shoulder to lean on – some counselling and emotional support.”
And this is exactly what Kim is doing. Working alongside Rural Aid, Kim and K&H Interiors organised a fundraising auction on August 10, raising an impressive $30,000 in cash donations and $70,000 in goods. The Farm Rescue program will take place from October 14-20 2018, but Kim and the team have already begun helping those in immediate need, in any way possible.
“I don’t want the farmers to get lost in a system or lose belief in what we’re doing because of having to wait too long for help they need urgently. It’s hard, so many are in desperate circumstances and your immediate reaction is you want to jump to it and do something, anything, to help. It’s not always possible to do that but we try our best to prioritise and if there’s something we can do to help before the actual Farm Rescue trip happens, we’ll do it.”
Farmers in need of assistance have until the end of August 2018 to register. As for volunteer and donation support, the response so far has been overwhelming. The upcoming Farm Rescue will see 420 volunteers (the largest Farm Army to date) making their way over to farms across the Forbes area to lend a hand.
“The response is typical of the close-knit community here,” says Kim. “Everyone’s very generous and supportive – it’s something Herb and I noticed when we set up shop here. It’s been two and a half years now, and everyone’s made us feel right at home. They really embraced us and our business and we’re so very grateful for that.”
Farmers are invited to register at https://www.farmrescue.com.au/forbes-mega-farm-rescue
Businesses can register to help at https://www.farmrescue.com.au/sponsorship