RELATED: Fundraising to feed dairy farmers
This morning, a van full of groceries and boxes made its way from Melbourne to Bendigo.
Linden Barry read about care packages being delivered to farmers in the East Loddon area at the start of the year and has been involved ever since.
The Melbourne-based businessman delivered more than 100 care packages during his first trip.
“We’ve done about five runs now,” he said.
“When the budget allows, we go buy a few grand of stuff.”
He encouraged others to give generously too.
Mr Barry had no ties to the community prior to deciding to help East Loddon Community Network Group and the Salvation Army Bendigo Corps with their initiative.
“Everyone is busy, but you’ve got to try just that bit harder,” he said.
“Honest, decent people trying to look after each other, they’re the sorts of people we should help.”
Salvation Army Bendigo rural outreach officer John Cartwright distributes up to 30 care packages per week in the Dingee East Loddon District alone.
Boxes are Mr Barry’s business, and featured prominently in today’s delivery.
The Country Women’s Association of Victoria Bendigo Northern Group is hoping to fill them with donations from a week-long collection drive, which begins on Monday.
Members will be seated outside Woolworths at Bendigo Marketplace until October 2, from 9am until 6pm Monday to Thursday, from 10am until 6pm on Friday, and from 10am until 4pm at the weekend.
Mr Barry said the van was loaded with about 100 empty boxes for donations from the community.
Groceries donated by his business, Cardboard Cartons, will fill a further 50 or so.
The care packages are worth about $65 each.
“If you’re doing it tough, that’s a tank load of petrol it saves you,” Mr Barry said.
“Every bit helps.”
East Loddon Community Network Group President Leanne Welsh said the group was surprised when Mr Barry and his son Lachlan first offered to help.
“Little did we know how big that delivery would be,” she said.
“Each packing day since, we have been generously supported with a majority of the groceries and beautiful boxes coming from our Melbourne guardian angels.”
She said the Barry family also gave generously with their time, assembling boxes in Melbourne and on packing days.
“They always have so much energy and enthusiasm and a lovely positive attitude - they are a pleasure to work with and our East Loddon Community Network Group are very appreciative of their kindness,” Mrs Welsh said.
Fundraising for care packages will also occur at a Food 4 Dairy Farmers event on October 6.
East Loddon P-12 College VCAL students will be serving finger food from 1.30pm until 2.30pm at the marketplace.
Tickets are $21 and can be purchased online or at the stall outside Woolworths.
A raffle, with more than a 40 prizes, will be held on the day.
CWA Northern Group Secretary Denise Underwood said she was amazed by the businesses that were supporting the Food 4 Dairy Farmers event, many of whom are based at the marketplace.
She has provided a list of items typically included in the care packages for farmers.
“People can donate any non-perishable item or cash,” she said.
“All cash donations will be receipted.”