Providing support to remote, rural and regional communities in NSW and Queensland
What are the critical issues facing farmers and families in regional, rural and remote southern Queensland?
“High incidence of depression, suicide, financial debts spiralling out of control, increased isolation of people and family break-up are just some of the challenges,” explains Sister Christine Henry rsc, who has led Downs & West Community Support since 2007. “Increased work hours and unemployment mean less time for extended family.
“Increased health issues. Increased cost for fodder, forced selling off of stock at low prices, fear of losing their farms through re-possession by the bank. Equine influenza and wild dog attacks. Weather events like drought, bushfires, flash floods and severe frosts.”
How does Downs & West Community Support help?
Practical support may include providing food and household hampers, toiletry care packs, Christmas hampers and gifts.
Financial support may involve providing cash assistance, prepaid grocery and petrol vouchers, essential home appliances; paying domestic and farm bills, and purchasing stock feed; replacing water tanks, fencing and gates; and repairing machinery.
Emotional support is provided by visiting people at home or in hospital, writing letters, phone calls, and utilising appropriate referral systems as required.
Social support involves hosting Family Fun Days and Christmas Days, Wellness Days and the unique Dragonfly Health and Wellness Retreats for country women.
Visit downsandwestcommunitysupport.org for more information.
Practical support and pastoral care in one chance encounter
“Pulling into a country petrol station on one of our recent trips out west, I noticed a sad-looking man refuelling his car. After a brief exchange about the weather, he went into the shop to pay for the fuel, ordered a snack then sat at a table outside by himself. Sensing his loneliness and seeing tears in his eyes I asked if I could sit with him while I drank my coffee.
He told me he was driving the long distance into Brisbane to visit his sick wife. She had spent many weeks away having medical treatment, but circumstances meant he wasn’t able to visit her very often. He was lonely and overwhelmed by fear thinking he might lose his wife of 40 years.
Fortunately, I was able to give him some petrol vouchers and two non-perishables hampers and have since kept in touch to help him prepare to have his wife home. We did a massive clean-up of the home in two days. We purchased a bed and other household linen and clothes for both, a cordless jug, toaster, and sandwich maker. Such a chance encounter is just one way we can quietly help those in need.”
Disadvantaged families in rural southern Queensland need your help
$25 can replace life’s basics like socks and toiletries
$50 can contribute to food or gifts for a family in need
$150 can fill a tank with petrol to bring families together
$1,000 can help a family struggling with utility bills to keep the power on
$5,000 can help replace lost or damaged furniture or equipment
All donations over $2 are tax-deductible.