Parma for a Farmer Campaign raises over $15,000 for local farmers
Wests Group Macarthur is pleased to announce the results of our ‘Parma for a Farmer’ campaign having raised $15,152 for Dilly Drought Drive efforts. The campaign ran from January to March and saw $1 from every chicken Schnitzel and Parmigiana sold across Wests venues donated in support of the local farming community.
The Dilly Drought Drive, an auspice of Rural aid, is run by a team of volunteers led by Sharon Robertson and helped by Tia Veech who dedicate their time to supporting farmers from the Campbelltown, Camden, and Wollondilly council areas. It has been a long and difficult road for farmers in the Macarthur region following a long period of devastating drought, recent bush fires that ravaged parts of the region and now Covid-19 impacting their businesses and livelihoods.
Of accepting the donation, Sharon comments “We are so incredibly grateful for the support of Wests Group Macarthur and what this contribution means to our Farmers”. This is a boost in our efforts to assist our Farmers on their road to recovery and for future proofing their farms and farm businesses”.
Sharon continues, “100% of funds raised will be used to deliver practical support in what is now considered a drought recovery phase, with the long-lasting effects of the prolonged dry continuing to impact local farmers. This phase includes water delivery and storage solutions to secure future water supply, hay and fodder relief and most importantly food, hampers and gift cards for farmers who have been hurting financially”.
Earlier in the year, our Wests team had the pleasure of visiting Dilly Drought Drive Farms firsthand and heard just how difficult this period has been. 7th generation Dairy Farmer and Dilly Drought Drive liaison Gavin Moore says prior to receiving rainfall “there was only enough water on the farm to see them out only another couple of weeks” continuing, “without the rain, we were looking down the barrel of having to sell the Farm and move on as it was going to be impossible to continue without a water resource. Gavin shared that at one point they had managed to hold a small amount of water reserve on the property however it was completely drained by firefighting helicopters to protect his and neighbouring properties leaving his home bone dry and in danger.
Lynette Keneally from Top 40 Orchards had also been dealing with the effects of years of drought, water shortages, lost crops, and financial stress having missed a complete sale season of Christmas trees crops. In December of 2019, Lynette had to fight a fire wall at her fence line only to have her property and crops wiped out by downpours soon after. When asked what keeps her going everyday facing such adversity, Lynette comments “It is part of our fibre, and in our DNA. Every time we get wiped out we do our best to turn on our heels, dip a little deeper and maintain the manta ‘this too shall pass’. Lynette credits her resilience to a thick skin, being part of a strong local community and the financial and emotional support provided by the Dilly Drought Drive.
Both Gavin and Lynette echo that the farms will go on, however note there is long lasting financial ramifications they are working through and a significant mental toll from the last few years saying that the Dilly Drought drive helped to “get them through”. Wests Group hopes that our support will go a long way to making a difference now and into the future.
Tony Mathew, CEO of Wests Group Macarthur says, “Wests Group wanted to be able to deliver support in a practical and impactful way and are thrilled to be able to contribute to getting farmers back on their feet. We thank our members for getting behind the campaign and helping us to deliver much needed funds to the Dilly Drought Drive”.
Wests Group believes in empowering our community with social support, education and donations through the adoption of tailored strategies to ensure the needs of individuals and families are met.