Farmers in tears as small town is inundated with produce
IT WAS the weekend "Myer came to Jericho”.
That's how Louise Laffey described last weekend's Hay Run to the small western Queensland town of Jericho last weekend.
The town, which has a population of 115, filled to the brim as almost 50 volunteers came to deliver a hay run in support of the drought-affected farmers and the town.
The Hay Run, organised by Bundaberg's St Ursula's Old Girls Network and the Bundy to the Farm group, was estimated to be the value of $200,000 in goods and products.
What started out as a small idea, evolved into 11 trucks with 13 trailers, seven of which were hay and 30 tonnes of cattle food.
Along with this there was also "mountains of dog food”, chaff, horse food, lick blocks, calf crumb and pellets and molasses. For human or animal consumption, there was more mountains in produce - from zucchinis, sweet potatoes, watermelons, pumpkins, capsicums, tomatoes, apples and carrots. This was donated from growers around Bundaberg, Gin Gin and Hervey Bay.
Food Bank also came on board and supplied bottled water and food hampers.
Every person in town and on farms received a gift hamper. Women's hampers included handbags, silk scarves, nail polishes and more feminine items and the men got an assortments of items like backpacks, work socks, playing card, shaving cream and wallets. The children didn't miss out -they all got age appropriate bags with toys, schools books, pens and pencils. There was also bed linen, towels, baby products and extra groceries including medication, glass cleaners, batteries, extra toys, brand new clothing and shoes.
The hairdresser from Alpha, Amanda Cope, also came out for the day doing haircuts, eyebrow wax and tinting well into the night.
Key organiser from St Ursula's Old Girl's Network, Louise Laffey, said it was like "Myers on a road trip”.
Ms Laffey said it was very difficult to get people to register for the Hay Run.
Around 35 properties registered, thanks to the help of Jericho police officer in charge Acting Senior Constable Luke Young and community nurse.
The weekend started on Friday night when everyone gathered at the Jordan Valley Hotel with almost 80 meals served.
On the Sunday night, 60 kilos of prawns were shared along with chocolates and strawberries.
"That was a really good boost for the pub... we supported the local businesses as much as we could,” Ms Laffey said.
Supporting more local business, 120 loaves of fresh bread from Snows Bread Alpha and 50 preserves in Alpha's craft shop were purchased along with fuel cards from Greg Pearce's Garage or BP/Caltex and IGA vouchers for Barcaldine/Longreach. A lot of the cattle feed came from Alpha produce.
"While the farmers aren't spending money, the businesses are suffering as well,” Ms Laffey said.
"As is the case with Jericho, there is only the Post Office, hotel and garage...the chemist has closed down in Alpha.”
Most of the population in Jericho are elderly and Ms Laffey said it was very difficult to survive in a town when you can't shop.
"No one wants to buy a house there...there is nothing there... they are virtually stuck there,” she siad.
Members of the Lions Club from Townsville, Emerald and Noosa also helped out and the local community banded in together.
"I can't say enough about the local people.... they got the Men's Shed together, the farmer's wives put on a cooked breakfast, morning tea, tea and coffee all day,” Ms Laffey said.
Ms Laffey said it was wonderful to be able to help the community and the farmers.
"The whole atmosphere, it was very emotional., they were just hugging, they were crying...they couldn't believe the amount of stuff there was,” she said.