City-slickers didn’t just offer their support to the bush, they also came to visit the bush on Friday for a drought relief day at Cuttabri.

Representatives from the Sydney-based company, Heinemann Duty Free, hit the road and headed west to make donations to farmers.

“I’ve been quite humbled by all of the generosity that’s coming from out of town and the metropolitan areas because I thought they didn’t really know what was happening here,” said Wee Waa Rotary club president Andrew Greste.

Mr Greste said that Heinemann contacted Rotary about making a donation to drought-affected communities and so an event was organised through Rotary’s Neighbours in Need program.

The program is a registered tax-deductible project run by the Rotary Club of Narrabri in partnership with the Rotary Club of Wee Waa and the Rotary Club of Boggabri under the umbrella of the Rotary Australia Benevolent Society.

Its aim is to assist people struggling with social isolation and general mental health due to the drought, utilise Rotarians and friends to reach out to those affected and identify needs and provide referrals to key support providers.

“What’s really blown me away with the Neighbours in Need project is that I’ve always thought that there was a bit of a growing disconnect or divide between metropolitan and rural people just because a lot of metropolitan Australia now don’t have cousins or relatives in the bush, so I thought there was a lack of understanding of what we’re going through,” said Mr Greste.

“But the fact they’ve actually taken the time and effort to come up here and to come out to Cuttabri – I mean how good is that?

“The fact they’ve come up here demonstrates that they care.”

A crowd of farming families and community members attended the Rotary barbecue and mingled with the Heinemann representatives,
sharing their stories of life on the land.

Heinemann’s generous donations included three lucky door prizes, each prize was 10 tonnes of wheaten hay.

The winners were David Pickette, Owen Worrell and Sally Croft.

All the winners were surprised, thrilled and very appreciative when their names were read out.

Attendees were also treated to donated trays of mangoes, goodie bags and ‘why leave town’ cards.

Mr Greste, who is a farmer himself, said the recent rainfall (in parts) has been welcome but the drought was still hurting people and support from the city was both needed and valued.

“The rain that we’ve had has been much appreciated but it’s patchy.”

He said Rotary would continue to work hard to get benefits and relief to people in need.

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