It was a very heart-warming experience to again witness the generosity of the good folk of the Buderim electorate who rallied to assist the plight of Western Queensland's drought-stricken farming community, in response to the recent toiletries appeal, conducted via the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners, during which I volunteered my electorate office as a collection point.
Shortly after the call for assistance going out, my office was inundated with local people and business owners who arrived in eager droves, clutching bags and boxes filled to the brim with fresh-scented donations, bearing earnest messages of goodwill, support and concern for the drought-affected farmers and their families.
This initiative came about when Sunshine Coast residents Pat and Andrew Morris set to work to help bolster the renowned stellar efforts of the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners team of guardian angels, with this generous-hearted couple offering to coordinate a mammoth collection of toiletries.
The result provided an additional abundance of newly packaged toiletry supplies for the 'Care Packs' already being distributed alongside emergency supplies of hay, to farmers in need.
While the distressing fact remains that 80% of Queensland is drought-declared, our primary producers are spending every spare cent on keeping stock alive.
As a result of the appeal, the next hay run will smell sweeter than ever, bearing a bountiful harvest of some 142 boxes filled with a total 3.5 tonnes of toiletries, for onward distribution to farmers in need in the state's west.
In another act of heartfelt support and human kindness, the Patchwork Group from the Buderim Craft Cottage invested hours crafting carefully stitched quilts. Although not an essential item for survival, the quilts embody a tangible, warm expression of empathy and support for fellow Queenslanders during their time of strife.
To name but a few, I would like to extend thanks to 92.7 MixFM for publicising the appeal, to Sunshine Coast Removals and Storage, to the exceptional Buderim War Memorial Community Association and its many affiliates, to St Marks Buderim, the Buderim CWA, Beautiful You Cancer Charity, Buderim Library, Kuddly Kids Buderim, to the IGA North Buderim, to Mountain Creek Chemmart Pharmacy and to Buderim Pharmacy. As well as small business owners, I must also make mention of the many individuals like Duncan Spackman who took the time to donate.
In closing, I hold many causes close to my heart. However, as a child, I experienced the same trauma these families face, as a member of a farming family that was itself driven from drought-ravaged land. The importance of supporting our rural farming community, during time of drought or at any other time, is therefore a cause that runs deep through my veins.
In an increasingly busy, uncertain world, when self-interest can appear to reign supreme, I am so very reassured and enriched by the generosity and philanthropy shown time and time again by the people of the Buderim electorate.
As the farmers of Western Queensland, their families and their communities wait anxiously for replenishing rain, while they are pushed to the edge of their endurance at Mother Nature's whim, I am convinced that this act of kindness will provide a glorious reminder for our drought-stricken farmers of comradeship, of empathy and of the well-wishes of their fellow Queenslanders.
Steve Dickson MP