Aussie farmers have been doing it tough. Drought, fires and floods have severely impacted crop yields and livestock. Many families are struggling to make ends meet. To help provide some relief, Amazon Australia has teamed up with Drought Angels, a passionate and dedicated nonprofit that supports farmers and regional communities impacted by natural disasters.
Together, we have provided 500 farming mums across the country with hampers to encourage them to take a little time out for some much needed self-care. Each hamper was packed with love by Amazon volunteers, complete with hand written Mother’s Day cards, and contain special products from Australian businesses.
“We are so excited to partner with Amazon Australia to help ‘deliver smiles’ to farming mums across the country,” said Natasha Johnston, Founder/CEO of Drought Angels. “The mothers in these families are often the glue holding everything and everyone together.
It has been particularly difficult times over the last few years for many of our farming families as they have been impacted by Drought, Fire or Floods and in some cases all three disasters. Being able to treat 500 of our wonderful mums across Rural Australia with a few indulgences they would never otherwise prioritise is absolutely incredible and heart-warming.”
Each hamper contains three special products from Australian small businesses – an Australian Pink Salt Exfoliator from Sand & Sky, a toxic-free Facial Moisturizer from Little Urchin and a microfiber lined shower cap from Dilly’s Collection. These products were selected by Drought Angels out of thousands of Aussie products available on Amazon.com.au to ensure relevance and suitability for their farming families.
Sharona Goodman from Dilly’s Collection said “We are so happy to be part of this wonderful initiative to support hard working mums across the country. As a small business owner and mother of three, I know how hard it can be to make time for yourself. We hope these hampers will help make life a little bit lighter.”
Chris Mathews from Little Urchin said “it is a real privilege to be part of this campaign to help provide some relief to hundreds of regional Australians working hard to put food on our tables. We are proud to be providing them with an all-natural, toxic free product that will help soothe their skin and make them smile.”
Sarah from Sand&Sky said, “We started Sand & Sky to share the wonders of Australia’s natural environment to people across the globe. We can’t think of more deserving people than those working out on our magnificent country.”
Cassandra Mclaren and her husband Peter moved to the family farm in Merriwa 30 years ago with nothing but a few possessions. They worked hard to make ends meet, Cassandra found a part time job in the neighbouring town in childcare, paying $30 a day, and Peter became a farm hand. They built up their cattle farm one head at a time and before long their hard work had paid off with more than 120 head of cattle. Three years later Cassandra had her first child, Jessica, and went on to have three more beautiful children, Victoria, Patrick and Emma.
In 2017 the impact of the drought started to take hold. Slowly but surely the water started running low and the family had to start selling off their cattle, about 15 head at a time.
“One day, in mid 2018, a truck turned up to pick up the remaining cattle, many more than 15 this time. It was just too tough to feed them and the family. Something had to give. Emma, my youngest, pointed to the truck and said ‘Mummy, how many are they taking this time?’ I crouched down to look her in the eye, ‘all of them honey, I’m sorry’. With that she burst into tears, it was really tough.” said Cassandra.
Cassandra, feeling desperate for support, posted about the families struggle on her Facebook Page. Before long it had gone viral with hundreds of people in the same position commenting and sharing her heartfelt words. Cassandra realised she was not alone and that people on the land needed a way to connect with their community so she started a Facebook page called ‘One Day Closer to Rain.” The page now has more than 54,000 members and serves as a platform for people in regional communities to support one other.
A few months later Cassandra realised that a lot of people were posting about feeling powerless and wanting to be able to help themselves rather than rely on charity, so (15 months later)she started a separate group for farmers to sell their own handmade products- she named it ‘Rural Cottage Craft.’ Within 24 hours the page had more than 5000 members and farmers were literally selling out of their crafts.
“Without knowing it, Cassandra had tapped into a huge unspoken need in the farming community, the need for hope and empowerment. Being able to make a small income from selling handmade crafts online has enabled many families to put food on the table, buy hay for their animals and Christmas presents for their kids without having to apply for assistance” Said Natasha Johnston, founder of Drought Angels.
In addition to working on the farm (and part time at a local school) , running ‘Rural Cottage Crafts’ and caring for her children, Cassandra volunteers at the Rural Fire Service and non-profit, Need for Feed, supplying stock and animal feed to those in need.
“Volunteering with the RFS and Need for Feed has been amazing. It gives you a real sense of perspective, of what’s important and what’s not. We’ve had a hard few years but we will recover and life will continue. You just do what you have to do.” Cassandra
The partnership with Drought Angels is part of Amazon Australia’s ongoing commitment to supporting local communities. Using Amazon’s unique capabilities, along with cash donations, we are proud to support our community partners to provide ‘Right Now Needs’ to Aussies across the nation, especially during and after natural disasters. Last year we worked with Drought Angels to deliver more than 2,500 hampers packed full of essentials and treats to farming families doing it tough. Learn more here.