AFTER five back operations in ten years and spending the last two years in a wheelchair, 38 year-old Hughenden farmer Andrew Holden knows all about overcoming obstacles.
But for the father of five, who has owned and worked on Ballindolloch Station for the last 20 years, times have never been as tough on the land as the last six months.
For that reason Mr Holden, along with wife Juanita will host the Buy a Bale Campaign when it comes to Hughenden on Monday, shifting 250 bales of hay in one day, with the help of Flinders Shire Council machinery, to help local farmers get through another week.
The recent combination of export bans, fire, no wet season and now a harsh drought are pushing many over the edge and the Buy a Bale Campaign is a joint venture between Aussie Helpers and The Give Back Campaign, Donations are currently at a running total of $341,153.40.
Most recently made famous through appearances on Sunrise in July, Aussie Helpers founder Brian Egan will join the Holden’s at their property on today, where 20 farmers have already registered for assistance.
Mrs Holden has also joined forces with local primary school St Francis School to collect donations of non-perishable food to further assist those farmers who are struggling to make ends meet.
“Andrew is someone who never puts a hand out for help – he always says we’ll manage, we’ll manage… (but) this is our livelihood,” Mrs Holden said.
“When we started running out of grass, Andrew saw the sign on the street about registering for Buy a Bale when they went to Richmond with Sunrise… he thought he’d just get one bale to ease the pressure for the day.
“But in Richmond, Brian told Andrew to take what he could fit in the trailer – Andrew came home with five bales and a box of groceries. It was unbelievable.
“Brian and Andrew just clicked and, while we don’t have the money to assist, we asked if we could help in any other way.”
The Hughenden Buy a Bale Campaign runs from 10am and 2pm on Monday at the Holden’s Ballindolloch Station, with food and monetary donations welcomed towards continuing the work of Buy a Bale.
Property owners can still register for assistance and there will be a sausage sizzle and tea and coffee on Monday as bales are distributed, with everyone welcome to show their support by being part of the day.
“What I am saying (to property owners) is don’t be too proud to register – it’s alright to say I need a hand,” Mrs Holden said.
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