South Coast Dairy and the Berry Rotary Club have partnered together to launch the Milk It Forward Initiative, to support drought-stricken local farmers.
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Project manager Melinda Boxsell said the aim of the partnership was to raise funds, awareness and help support local dairy farmers from Albion Park down to Milton.
“The drought will affect our farmers and their families well into the future,” Mrs Boxsell, who is part of a dairy farming family herself, said.
“I know first hand what our local dairy farmers are going through. We just saw this as a way of being able to help.
“South Coast Dairy has been contacted numerous times by people wanting to support our local farmers but didn’t know how.
“This is a long term project - the ongoing effects of the drought could last for 12-18 months.”
She said funds raised, by public donations, fundraising events or business support could be used to support farmers in a variety of ways.
“All the money raised will be distributed locally,” she said “with the initiative overseen by Berry Rotary.
“As well as all important feed like hay, funds could also be used for petrol vouchers, towards other feed bills, phone bills or even a tank load of water.”
Just this week Mrs Boxsell addressed the local rotary club and spoke first hand of what farmers are facing.
“I think a few members were a bit blown away by what farmers are going through at the moment,” she said.
To be part of the project to donate or be a farmer recipient is easy.
“Our applications forms are simple - we hear there is support out there and there is but often when you actually go to fill out the forms its horrendous,” she said.
“In some cases hundreds of pages - after often working 12-14 or more hour days, the last thing a farmer wants to do or has time to do is wade through hours of paperwork.
“Ours is a very simple process and an easy form to fill out. I can even help them with it.”
The project will be putting out expressions of interest for local farmers, with an appointed independent panel then assessing the fairest ways to distribute the funds.
Already the project has gained support locally - Wharf Road Restaurant has pledged fundraising from its annual Melbourne Cup Luncheon.
This Saturday (September 22), Greendales at Pyree is presenting Hey Girl, Hay Booze + Views - which will feature live local music talent, bar service and food. The event runs from 3pm to 6pm. Cost is just $15 per ticket, which are available online at www.stickytickets.com.au/75090/het_girl_hay.aspx or on the day.
Another fundraiser is the Bendigo Bank’s Drought Relief Family Fun Day at the St Georges Basin Country Club on Saturday, October 6 from 10am to 2pm.
“We would welcome any support,” Mrs Boxsell said.
“Anyone who donates money to the Milk It Forward Initiative, whether it be a school, business or other organisation, will be kept updated with where their money goes.”
So if you are a local business, cafe, school or organisation and would like to make a donation or would like to find out more about the initiative email firstname.lastname@example.org
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