By Renee Wood
Rebuilding after the February floods is still a daily task for New South Wales and Queensland residents who were affected by the devastating natural disaster.
The traumatising and heart breaking lose of lives, livelihoods and communities is something that fuels the Need for Feed convoys as volunteers and generous donations continue to come forward.
Volunteer truck driver Scott Guy is setting off on his fourth convoy up to the flood affected regions for the charity, with a load carrying 44 bales of hay donated by four Dixons Creek farmers.
Mr Guy was brought to tears when he described the scenes he’s seen in past deliveries.
“To tell you the truth I don’t think I’ve seen devastation like it, it’s 10 times worse than the bushfires – we don’t think we’ve done anything ever like it before,” Mr Guy said.
“There are some struggling people out there, they’ve had no support and the only people that are supporting are people like us with community and volunteers.”
Mr Guy said the loss of stock and nursing injured animals is a heartbreaking element farmers are facing.
“There’s some dairy farmers out there that have lost half their herd and it’s like their children. They’re very close to their dairy cattle and they’re in trauma… there’s a lot of trauma.”
Bales of hay, wellness packs, food, supplies and more are just some of the donated items being taken by the convoys and individual deliveries, with all vehicle use and fuel generously donated as well.
A Healesville woman also donated 30 horse rugs which are being transported north as part of the Anzac Day long weekend’s convoy.
“We’re not just running hay runs like this where we’ve got 40 trucks – we’ve got individual loads going to farmers in need every week.
“There’s so much devastation up there that people are just trying to rebuild their lives and sometimes there’s no hope left, and that’s what we do when we go in there with a load of hay – it just puts a smile on their face.
“We’ve had such a great response from [donating] properties because there’s a lot of fodder around which people have got an abundance of it and there’s a lot of people giving back.”
One of the four anonymous Dixon Creek farmers is giving back as they know what it’s like to be tragically affected by a natural disaster after losing everything in the Black Saturday bushfires.
“I want to give back because vicarious trauma doesn’t go away, and the more you see, the more you hear, it gets so deeply into your psyche that it comes straight up,” they said.
“Because I’m such an animal person, I see the trauma of those animals and the trauma to the owners who loved them – it’s terrible.”
Another run is scheduled for Queen’s Birthday weekend 11-12 June and those interested in donations can support through the Need for Feed website.
“It’s just so important that we keep the momentum up. It’s not just today, it’s all year, it’s the next two or three years probably or longer,” the anonymous farmer said.
For more visit www.needforfeed.org