Ten trucks travelled a collective 23,260kms to transport 320 bales of hay to the Narrabri Shire area last week in support of farmers affected by the Duck Creek bushfire.

The mammoth delivery was valued at more than $30,000 and was coordinated by Aussie Hay Runners.

Donations of hay came from across Victoria, with trucks making the journey north up the Newell Highway.

The run was the group’s inaugural trip to Narrabri and was met with appreciation. The hay was distributed with the assistance of local landholders who allowed their properties to be used as collection points.

Fire-affected farmers are able to reach out to the organisation for support.

“We are here to help them out,” Aussie Hay Runners founder Linda Widdup said.

Since starting from a small run of four trucks in 2019, Aussie Hay Runners has grown exponentially all while continuing to support disaster-affected communities and farmers.

As Linda always says, “it’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up”.

Aussie Hay Runners delivered 320 bales of hay to support fire-affected farmers in Narrabri Shire. Ten trucks delivered hay valued at more than $30,000 to the area last week. Photos: Aussie Hay Runners

After seeing the impact of the devastating effects of drought, Linda wanted to help in some small way and established Aussie Hay Runners, based in regional Victoria.

“We step in and try to help people where we can,” Linda said.

Now in the fifth year with a small group of dedicated volunteers and a large group of drivers, Aussie Hay Runners is proudly supported by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority.

Linda said the RAA subsidises the cost of fuel to bring truck loads of hay to communities impacted by disaster. The hay is donated, with Aussie Hay Runners organising the logistics to get the hay to where it is needed.

In addition to support from the RAA, Aussie Hay Runners has also now partnered with the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program.

The partnership enables the group to offer support beyond bales of hay.

The experience of seeing the hay arrive can be an emotional one for farmers, and Aussie Hay Runners is determined to step in and help people in many ways.

“We make lifelong friends out of this,” Linda said.

“We travel all the highways and byways.”

The group relies solely on donations, and all funds are spent in supporting affected farmers and communities.

Linda’s role itself is an enormous one and she oversees the runs, trucks and fodder.

“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it,” she said.

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