Louise Laffey made a promise to help Jericho farmers through the tough times of drought, and she’s about to give them one last Christmas gift.
Louise grew up in Monto and says western Queensland is in her heart.
The support for the western Queensland farmers came after her group of school friends reunited for their 60th birthdays and made the pact to help the struggling families of Jericho.
“Anything out west is close to my heart,” Louise said.
“I went to St Ursula’s boarding school after growing up in the west.”
Louise and her four school friends, dubbed the St Ursula's Old Girls Network, decided to help the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners in 2016 and collected as many donations as possible to take along with them to Ilfracombe.
“We collected all sorts of donations, everything including donations from Avon ladies and when we arrived for the people out there the concept of free didn’t compute,” Louise said.
“One female farmer cradled this jar of face cream like it was gold!
“They had all gone without the simple things in life to ensure they had money to feed the cattle.”
Drought remains for more than a decade in Jericho
Louise said the farmers in the Jericho region were still struggling as the drought bear down on the land.
“They have been in drought for more than 10 years and the farmers won’t ask for a thing – it’s their nature,” she said.
“So, this year I started fundraising in September to raise money for vouchers for food, fuel and fodder to help them.”
Louise will make her way to Jericho on 21 December to give the struggling farmers and their families, an envelope with $300 worth of vouchers for the local IGA and fuel station.
“The policeman, Luke, will be holding a town barbecue and I will be there with my husband to hand out the envelopes,” Louise said.
“The farmers have always been blown away by the generosity, some I have to force into taking it, but all are very touched by it.
“They are all very unassuming, down to earth and would never ask for a thing, some go quiet and don’t know how to react and others just give you a big hug!”
Bundaberg farmers show support
Louise said in the lead up to this trip to Jericho she was met with criticism from people who said she should be looking after the local farmers first.
“I made a promise to Jericho and I want to follow through with that!” she said.
“But what I want people here to know is the farmers from around here are some of the biggest supporters, they have helped the farmers out west so much.
“They want to help the farmers of Jericho as much as I do.
“They provided the trucks to take out the mountains of their produce last time – they understand what it’s like out west.”
- Other news: Drought assistance extended to Bundaberg Region