Gippsland Farmer Relief will be able to assist more people thanks to a $50,000 donation from Freemasons Victoria.
Freemasons Victoria deputy grand master Richard Elkington said the donation came through the organisation’s philanthropic arm, the Freemason Foundation, and would help farmers and communities suffering “in this severe drought”.
“I am very grateful that our local members have recognised community need and taken action,” he said.
Mr Elkington said the foundation was “particularly impressed” that 100 per cent of funds was distributed to people in need. Local Freemason Peter Crick of Bairsndale said the funds were needed to help save farmers in what he described as the “forgotten drought”.
“There are many effects of this drought-ravaged situation other than financial distress such as mental health issues, stock inventory and condition, reduction in stock feed, water shortages – the list goes on,” he said.
Another local Freemason and hobby farmer, who remained anonymous, said there was hardly any feed left and he was having to buy hay and lucerne at almost three times the price as the same time last year.
“We buy small squares as do many other hobby farmers and horse people around here and it keeps pushing the price up so we can well understand what the real farmers are going through and spores in the dusty hay,” he said.
“Not good, we have to be watchful and careful of how we feed our horses.”