The thoughtfulness of a Maryborough school student has ensured that the children at the Quilpie State College have started the year with all their basic school supplies at hand.
Chloe Hall, from Riverside Christian College, wanted to do her bit when Maryborough’s regular Burrumbuttock Hay Runners troop began preparing for their annual pilgrimage to western Queensland’s drought-stricken families.
In consultation with one of the organisers, Andy Hamilton, they settled upon school needs and Chloe put out messages for donations through her school community and on local social media sites.
In the end she was able to ride with her family to Quilpie at the weekend with four 65 litres boxes “chockers” with folders, paper, pencil cases and other stationary items.
She handed it over to to grateful college principal, Rachael McWaters when the convoy of seven trucks from Maryborough arrived in town last Friday.
Chloe said she wanted to help children her age, and their families.
Her giving also prompted her younger brothers, Jacob, 9 and Lucas, 6, to collect goodies for Quilpie children below school age, and they ended up with 50 bubble wands and 50 handballs plus colouring-in pencils.
Their mum, Linda Hall, said they’d been concerned that they were only arriving with school supplies two days before school started but they were comforted by the fact that they wouldn’t date and could still be used through the year.
They were welcomed to the school by a big sign on the front fence, and school principal Rachael McWaters reciprocated with a kind gesture of her own, accommodating the entire team from Maryborough at her home.
Spokeswoman Andy Hamilton said it ensured their drivers were well rested and fresh the next morning.
“From a woman’s point of view, the toilets were wonderful,” she said.
It’s the fourth trip west with hay that the Maryborough chapter of the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners have made, travelling to both Ilfracombe and Muttaburra before Quilpie.
Last year, their own part of the world was struggling with dry conditions so they helped out closer to home.
This time there were five local trucks on the road west, along with two from Brisbane, loaded with 386 round bales of hay grown in the Maryborough and Woolooga regions.
Andy said after totalling up their various efforts, the Fraser Coast community, sponsors and supporters should stand up and give themselves a good slap on the back for their efforts since 2016.
“We have carted over 1164 bales of hay, which has a value of over $58,200; we have burnt through over $36,500 worth of diesel, and we have delivered over 500 care packs and blankets,” she said.
“We have exceeded in donating over $100,000.00 to our drought affected farmers.
“There is absolutely no wage and no financial gain to any member of our team. Your dollar goes straight to the farmer.”
Andy said the hay runs and the people they met had become a part of their lives.
This year they’d been able to assist producers at Windorah, Toompine, Eromanga and Cooladdi.
“We’ve all discussed this hay run and what we saw,” she said. “The crew has been together for many years but we all felt this is getting to be the worst we’ve ever seen.”