People who want to support regional Australia should come visit, says a local school principal.
John Southon from Trundle Central School is appealing to people to take a trip, even a day trip, to a country community and support the businesses, who are affected by the drought too.
“Jump in the car and come out, have a counter lunch, it would make a massive difference,” he said.
Put some fuel in the car, have a beer, buy the paper, if a lot of people supported the rural community in small ways it would add up to a big difference.
“We’re dependent on farming, and it’s not raining,” Mr Southon said bluntly.
“It’s not charity (to come out and support farming communities) it’s repayment for producing the best, the cheapest and cleanest, food.”
Mr Southon estimates 80 per cent of the families with students at his school derive their income either directly or indirectly from farming and Trundle Central School is also taking steps to support their farming families.
He’s opened the doors of the school’s showers of an evening for rural residents who are low on tank water to come in and enjoy that long, hot shower.
He’s spent plenty of time on the phone seeking sponsorship and raising money with the aim of buying a $20,000 truckload of hay to share as well as collecting items to put together in care packages for families.
And those things are just going to be shared between the school community, he’s heard “there’s a lot of people worse off than us” too many times.
“There won’t be an opt-out point,” he said.
“Every family will get a care package. We will drop hay at the gate.”
Mr Southon is pretty passionate about the community and school he moved to nearly four years ago.
Two years ago the farming sector was affected by flooding, with students picked up by helicopter from the school oval, and now this drought is hitting hard too.
He’d love people from around the region to spend a day there and support any of the businesses.