Harvey Hay Run
South West truck drivers will travel more than 5000km across a fire ravaged country, delivering much-needed hay to fire-affected communities in NSW.
Eleven truckloads of hay and many generous volunteers will brave the harsh conditions to carry the combustible loads on a 10-day journey from one dairy community to another.
Cattle producers Belinda Hall and her husband Joe, both of Cookernup, coordinated the hay run after seeing people and animals suffering in the bushfires over east.
“It’s about people helping people, farmers helping farmers and Australians helping Australians,” Mrs Hall said.
The new-to-Cookernup mother-of-one said she wanted to pay it forward, after hearing the harrowing stories that haunted her fellow community members during the 2016 Waroona-Yarloop bushfires.
Mrs Hall said they were planning to leave on Friday, however because of numerous road closures all over the country she had to keep in constant communication with Main Roads.
There are more than 1000 small bales of hay, 600 large bales and 200 export squares so far.
The team will use Narooma, NSW, as a base and take the small fodder there for distribution.
There will also be a supply of clothing, bedding and linen taken too. Mrs Hall said despite reports that clothing donations needed to be stopped, certain communities, including Narooma, were still asking for help in those areas.
“It’s such a large-scale crisis, people are losing their houses directly, but there are also the outlining communities who may be affected. Including those who can’t get home due to road closures and burnt bridges,” Ms Hall said.
The Cookernup resident said her NSW liaison and old friend Cally Hannah was helping to coordinate everything at the other end.
“Cally was a bit of the inspiration behind it all because she has been walking two horses two hours every time they had to be evacuated, she had no other way to transport them. Watching her updates was where it started to sink in.”
Mrs Hall said there had been a lot of declarations and permits to complete because of the biodiversity risks and road train regulations, however she also added she had received a lot of help.
Some of the businesses donating trucks and trailers include Joe Castro Farms, Patane Produce, Rosemya Farms and Total Transport Solutions.
Brunswick hay producer Tom Rose is one of the drivers and hay contributors for the cause.
The raft of farmers will set sail from Mr Rose’s property in Brunswick.
“I’m really looking forward to it, I was asked to help out and immediately said yes,” the farming veteran said.
The fuel cost for the expedition is expected to reach $100,000.
Those still wanting to donate can contribute to fuel costs on the Harvey Hay Run gofundme page.
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