Aussie Helpers extends a helping hand

SUPPORT: Aussie Helpers founder Brian Egan with Ridley’s territory manager Tim Dobson. Picture: supplied.Relief organisation Aussie Helpers has begun on-the-ground “cold calls” in Tasmania to assist farmers to recover from the shock milk price cuts and floods.
Nanjing Night Net

Aussie Helpers was founded 15 years ago by Queensland’s 2008 Senior Citizen of the Year Brian Egan to help “keep the bush alive” and “keep farmers on the farm” despite industry downturn and freak weather events.

The organisation has been in Tasmania before, when it assisted with the response from the Dunalley bushfires in 2013 and about 10 years ago during a period of drought.

Mr Egan said the company worked on the generous donation of corporate partnerships and local donations of money and products such as fencing equipment and alternative fodder and feed.

Since arriving about three weeks ago, Tasmanian volunteers for Aussie Helpers have travelled in equipped vehicles with grocery supplies and things such as hay and fodder and “cold called” on farmers who may be in need.

“Everyone gets a visit, even if they don’t need our help, that’s the way we work,” Mr Egan said.

Farmers are unaware they are getting a visit from Aussie Helpers but in 15 years, Mr Egan said he’d never had anyone turn him away from a property.

“They need help, they need someone to talk to, and most of them just act surprised and shocked, they don’t think we are for real,” he said.

Every property gets a donation of groceries and “pamper packs” as a gesture of goodwill and then a discussion between Aussie Helpers and the farmer gets underway.

“They let us know what they need and we tell them how we can help.”

The organisation also has trained psychologists as volunteers able to assist with the mental health of farmers, that can be done face-to-face or via technology such as SMS or email.

The Tasmanian response is being coordinated by Latrobe farmer Jim Lucas, who was on his way to head to the mainland when the call came.

“I was going to head over to help with their drought response, but then the dairy price happened and then not long after the floods came through so I decided to stay here and coordinate this,” he said.

Mr Lucas said the Tasmanian response had so far focused on the Deloraine and Mole Creek areas but they were looking to expand the area further depending on the need.

Aussie Helpers is seeking support from businesses, such as Ridley, who recently donated a large amount of pellet feed for livestock.

Mr Egan said any donations from any business was always welcome but it helped farmers to get back on their feet.

For more information on how you can help Aussie Helpers go to 梧桐夜网aussiehelpers.org419论坛orcontact Brian Egan on 1300 665 232 or email [email protected]南京夜网419论坛

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