Anne Thompson, of Clunes, with pallets of Christmas food hampers at the Mills Transport depot in South Lismore ready to be shipped off to drought-affected western NSW farmers.
Anne Thompson, of Clunes, with pallets of Christmas food hampers at the Mills Transport depot in South Lismore ready to be shipped off to drought-affected western NSW farmers.

Drought aid reaps a rich harvest

ALMOST 11 tonnes of Christmas hampers are headed west to drought-stricken NSW farmers, thanks again to the generosity of Northern Rivers residents.

Food for Farmers Drought Appeal co-ordinator Anne Thompson, of Clunes, breathed a sigh of relief as the 540 hampers were loaded on to trucks at the Eltham Hall last week.

“I just want to thank everyone who contributed and supported us to send a little Christmas cheer to farming families doing it tough,” she said.

Each year, Ms Thompson asks people to look in their cupboards for non-perishable food items.

“This year we got a lot more cash so I’ve done thousands of dollars worth of shopping. I get some funny looks at the check-out with four or five full trolleys, but I’ve become very good at chasing the specials,” she said.

“Every year I get hundreds of cards from farmers thanking us. It means a lot to them, but they mainly appreciate that they’re not forgotten.”

It’s a logistical exercise of military proportions. Everything is freighted for free by Tamex Transport, with support from the Mills and Lismore-Tenterfield transport companies, and distributed through a complex network of mail runs, school buses and even the Salvation Army’s Flying Padre.

“He can carry about five hampers at a time. He flies into isolated properties, the sheep scatter, and he rolls up with Christmas goodies from the North Coast,” Mrs Thompson said.

“He’s told me people get very emotional. Christmas can be a non-event when you can’tafford special treats.

“North Coast communities proved once again they care about the plight of our farmers.”



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