The Medowie Bale Out The Drought campaign looks set to smash its fund-raising aim with residents digging deep in the first two weeks to raise more than $14,000.
The aim for the month-long campaign, running until August 12, was to raise $20,000 but Port Stephens councillor Chris Doohan, who is also one of the event organisers, said they had been “overwhelmed” with support.
As of July 29 the campaign had $14,650 in cash and raffle prizes donated.
“It has been sensational, to say the least,” he said. “We’ve even had two young boys empty their piggy banks to donate. That was such a beautiful gesture.”
Seth, aged 9, and Deagan, aged 7, emptied their individual piggy banks and donated the total, $31.10, to the campaign.
The campaign will finish with a final push at the Bull n Bush Hotel in Medowie on August 12 where raffles will be drawn, and auctions will take place.
The money raised will be donated to Rural Aid, an established charity that runs the well-known Buy a Bale campaign.
Mr Doohan said he and event organisers Ben Niland and Rod Kerr have asked Rural Aid to keep the money raised in Medowie in the Hunter.
However, the Mr Doohan said they understood if it could not especially if there were other areas doing it tougher than the Hunter.
According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries, drought is now affecting 99 per cent of the state.
The DPI Combined Drought Indicator shows that the Hunter is among the areas suffering drought and intense drought.
“This campaign has really brought the community together,” Mr Doohan said. “The awareness it has created for this crisis, and it is a crisis, is phenomenal.”
Mr Doohan said he hopes to “pass the baton” to other Port Stephens towns such as Nelson Bay or Raymond Terrace once the Medowie campaign had ended.
For more information or updates on the campaign, check out Medowie Bale Out The Drought on Facebook.