Wollongong woman Sarah Roberts was proud to see two semi-trailers packed up with non-perishables and animal feed on Monday, bound for farmers in need.
The volunteer for Doing It For Our Farmers has been collecting goods from May after seeing first-hand how the drought was affecting families around the state. This week her biggest collection – 22 pallets of goods – will make their way to Mudgee and Cowra.
“For me we travel out to the country quite a bit and just seeing people struggling and hearing their struggles and not getting the support that they need,” the Endeavour Energy employee told the Mercury.
“There is a massive need out there.”
She said she knew of one man who had had his power cut off and his last can of food given to his dog because it needed the energy to herd his surviving cattle.
“People like that they put everyone before themselves, that’s who we want to help,” she said.
Ms Roberts began as a collection-point officer but her efforts have seen her become co-ordinator for the Illawarra.
She has previously made up to 20 deliveries to drought-stricken towns like Goolagong and Wagga Wagga, where a diminished agriculture has seen many struggling to feed themselves.
Owner of Fire Service Plus, Steve Caunt, has been helping the cause by allowing the charity to store goods in his Albion Park warehouse.
“We’ve had [donated goods come in] from right down the South Coast up to Helensburgh, its endless people with their boots and trailers and coming in from everywhere,” Mr Caunt said.
Donations have come from businesses, households, schools and even philanthropic children like “Ryan” who collected his own brown box of goods. They’re then packed into crates in the warehouse before being sent on to different regions.
“It’s just got bigger and bigger and bigger,” Mr Caunt said.
"It’s been a pleasure to see the smile on their faces knowing they’ve contributed."
The giant haul was nearly postponed with a truck originally tasked to take the goods falling through last minute.
Ms Roberts’ employer stepped up to help and donated two of their semi-trailers for the task.
“Our company encompasses plenty of areas affected by the drought,” said Drew Rodwell, Endeavour Energy regional manager south.
“This was a no-brainer.”