It is the creed of the Country Women’s Association to fill “the needs of others where they lie,” and as the drought worsened across much of NSW, the CWA sprang into action.
Bowral branch president Helen Kent said the group had sent support over the past few years to branches that were in need, but as the situation worsened across much of NSW, the ladies knew they had to expand their efforts.
“We had sent money to the Trundle branch and for the past few years we’d sent money to the Walgett branch, but we knew so many branches were in need of support,” Ms Kent said.
The branch ultimately voted to send 70 per cent of the funds raised throughout Tulip Time, the branch’s main fundraising event, to their sister group: CWA Oxley.
“We have raised close to $20,000 from our combined efforts from Tulip Time, including homemade jams made by students from Bowral High School, a raffle, and a garden party last weekend,” Ms Kent said.
Branch secretary Diana Innes said the money would be presented to the Oxley group next week which would then distribute the funds across several branches in central-western NSW.
“The aim of going out to the group is that they will distribute to their branches, which will go straight to the towns that need it,” Ms Innes said. The money will go toward purchasing vouchers that can be used at various local businesses.
“It’ll pay for chemist fees, petrol vouchers; we’ve got to keep the shops open in these areas, we’ve got to keep the hairdresser open, we’ve got to keep the IGA open, cause if they all close, the towns go,” Ms Kent said.
Additionally, a farm day held at Bowral Primary School raised close to $5000 for the Walgett branch and the Southern Highlands evening branch set up a similar initiative for families in the district.
Evening branch president Maryke Archbold-Hession said it was important to members that initiatives were also available for families in the region.
“Money collected might go out to our sister branches at a later stage, however, we’ve been looking at what’s needed here,” Ms Archbold-Hession said.
“We’re having a cricket day coming up in a couple of weeks that will be catered by the CWA. Farmers can get off the farm and bring the family,” she said.
The branch will also host 20-30 farming families at the Bong Bong races next month funded through the initiative.
“We’re not spending it all immediately as the drought isn’t going away tomorrow. We’ve had a bit of rain, but that’s not going to solve anything yet.”
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