FOR more than two tireless decades, Clunes Knitting Nanna Anne Thompson, bands of volunteers and the wider community have offered a ray of hope to farmers struggling with drought in western New South Wales.
The organiser of the North Coast Drought Appeal, Mrs Thompson, said the most recent donation drive saw more than 665 boxes of household items make its way to families who needed it most.
In addition, hundreds more boxes of gifts, toys, laundry products and toiletries were also donated.
In total, 16 pallets were sent to Dirranbandi, Mungindi, Lightning Ridge, Walgett, Pilliga and Bourke.
The care packages provided sorely-needed creature comforts and, in essence, a momentary reprieve from the agonising wait for a decent drop of rain, Mrs Thompson said.
Thankfully, in recent weeks there has also been welcome developments, for some farmers at least.
"Many of the cards, letters, emails and phone calls expressing their gratitude to our community also mention that there has been good rain in many of the districts," Mrs Thompson said.
"However, there are some who still have not had rain and they will be going into their fourth year of drought."
Mrs Thompson said seeing such success in the appeal was "incredibly satisfying" for herself and her dedicated volunteers.
"Really, the farmers tell me it's giving them a Christmas they'd never have," she said.
"Sincere thanks to the volunteers who gave their time collecting, delivering, sorting, gift wrapping and packing items for the drought-affected farmers.
"Thanks also to the businesses who once again became drop-off points, including the management of Lismore Square, the Clunes Rural Fire Service, who once again loaded the boxes onto pallets, Richmond Sand and Gravel for the forklift to load these onto trucks, supplied by Wizz Couriers as agents for Tamex, who once again freighted all 16 pallets out west free of charge."
Mrs Thompson also thanked schools who collected donations, including Byron Bay Public School, Wollongbar, The Channon, Modanville and Xavier College.