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Urgent need for feed in Gippsland
Dairy farmers in Gippsland have been doing it hard through the current milk price crisis.
And there is a new group of farmers facing especially tough times following the collapse of National Dairy Products in mid-November last year.
Many of these farmers – suppliers to National Dairy Products – have not been paid for more than four months’ worth of production. As unsecured creditors, they are unlikely to see any of what they are owed. Communities in and around Leongatha, Maffra and Longwarry are among the hardest hit.
CFA has added its clout to the Lions Clubs' Need for Feed appeal that is rallying support for these and other dairy farmers who are doing it tough.
Dandenong Brigade’s Joe Aitken is one of the driving forces behind CFA’s contribution. Joe is asking CFA volunteers and staff to reach out to their communities.
The goal: fill farmers’ pantries with non-perishable foods as well as everyday household items, toiletries and dry food for the dogs.
The Lions Clubs, meanwhile, are working to fill farmers’ sheds with quality fodder through Need for Feed – an appeal founded and organised by 30-year ex-CFA volunteer and Lions Clubs' Disaster Relief Coordinator Graham Cockerell.
“We are starting in District 8 but want to pull in brigades from the sea to the border across the South East,” says Joe.
"We are asking brigades to set up collection and drop-off points for members as well as the public. The money these families save by not having to buy food or hay can help pay off their loans.”
Joe saw community generosity and the rallying role played by CFA in the 2007 drought response. He’s confident that Victorians will step up again.
“We’ve got kids here who will go to school without food. If every person bought a pack of Weetbix and a tin of spaghetti, it would feed the multitudes for a long time,” says Joe.
For now, donations of food and household items can be dropped off at CFA brigades in Dandenong, Wonthaggi and Hastings. Donations can also be left at the old Pakenham fire station on John Street, Pakenham. Please contact Lisa Hicks on (0409) 401 437 for Pakenham drop offs.