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Rainbow Drought Runners

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For the full story and video of why click the link to my blog 
I recently went with a local group from the Gympie Region who collect donations of food and sometimes money and make runs out to Queensland drought affected areas to give a little to our outback communities who are struggling in the worst ways.

I accompanied three women who are part of the volunteers doing runs every couple of weeks. They're an amazing group. Every tin of corn, every packet of flour, every jar of coffee and most definitely every dollar they're given makes it's way to where it was intended.

This collection of incredible men and women fund their own trips - including fuel, accommodation and meals. Where they can they shop locally. Where they can't they give hampers they've made up previously.

The trip I did with them to Longreach  I organised with Woolworths, who I work with regularly on my social media accounts, who contributed $3000 to the run to give a little Christmas cheer to these long suffering families, enabling  me the opportunity to go and see for myself how things are and to write about it and try shine a light on the problem.

They're bad. Things are really, really bad.

Incredibly, my 'tour guide' Marlene said it's not as dreadful as it was three years ago when she first went (this is her ninth trip) because this year some of the farmers have had 7m of rain. That's this year, not this month or this week or last night.

The tragedy of this drought goes well beyond banks foreclosing on farms up to four generations old. The mental health of many farmers is dire. The term 'drought widow' has entered the vernacular and doesn't appear to be going anywhere soon. Men are taking their own lives. Children are losing fathers. Women are struggling with the aftermath.

What I learned on my trip is we can help, every single one of us. It's not just sugar and long life milk we're giving these people, it's hope and the knowledge they're not alone. Their fellow Australians know they're hurting and give many more than two hoots. 

We were told even the school in Longreach has been downgraded due to lower student numbers. That's what happens when families are forced off their farms and move out of the area they've called home their whole life. It's not just a matter of finding a job somewhere in 'town' to tide yourselves over. The pain flows into the wider community, including bakeries and suppliers and even hairdressers. The 'rot' spreads. 

The next run is scheduled to leave about the 14th of December and will be going as far as St George. I'm hoping to not only raise awareness but also some money they can spend locally to help businesses in the satellite townships as well as the farmers at this time of year. 

After all, it's the season of giving.

Every little bit will go a long way, and I'll organise someone to take photos so I can post photos of your contributions working wonders on my Big Family Little Income Facebook page  when the runners return.

Thank you, and Merry Christmas.
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  • Anonymous
    • $70 
    • 4 yrs
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Bruce Devereaux
Toolara Forest QLD

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