HAMPERS: Organiser of the Food for Farmers Christmas Appeal Anne Thompson alongside Clunes Rural Fire Brigade captain Neville Battistuzzi. The firies have been busy packing hampers for drought-stricken farmers.
HAMPERS: Organiser of the Food for Farmers Christmas Appeal Anne Thompson alongside Clunes Rural Fire Brigade captain Neville Battistuzzi. The firies have been busy packing hampers for drought-stricken farmers. Photo: Cathryn McLauchlan

Drought-stricken farmers get helping hand for Christmas

CHRISTMAS hampers for drought-stricken farmers will be on their way to 11 districts around NSW and QLD on Monday.

The hampers will provide farmers and their families with food, laundry products and gifts to make their Christmas memorable.

Organiser of the Food for Farmers Christmas Appeal Anne Thompson said farmers often don't have time to celebrate.

"In the past a lot of them have said Christmas is just another day when they're feeding their stock," she said.

"So at least in these boxes there's the makings of a nice Christmas lunch with Christmas cake and a pudding, a tin of jam, jellies and cake mixes.

"There are gifts for the farmers, their wives, and beautiful toys for the children. So we know Santa will be going to the bush after all."

Mrs Thompson began the service 21 years ago in Bangalow by delivering fodder to struggling farmers and it gradually evolved into a Christmas appeal.

She moved to Clunes and the local Rural Fire Brigade have been helping her pack and wrap the boxes each Christmas for the past 12 years.

This year they packed 662 hampers onto pallets, wrapped them up and loaded them onto trucks.

Brigade captain Neville Battistuzzi said the firies simply enjoyed helping out.

"It's our way of helping out the community and the farmers," he said.

"We've got it down pat now so it only takes about two and a half hours and it's all done."

This is bush firefighter Bruce Greenland's second year involved with the appeal.

He said it's "great fun coming together to lend a hand".

"It connects the people on the coast with all our rain and long grass with people in the bush ... where they're having a really tough time with drought," he said.

This year the hampers will go out to areas in the west of NSW and QLD.



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