Charity encourages Aussies to host a ‘Great Outback BBQ’ to support farmers
With 2020 having already delivered a global pandemic, floods, and little relief from a nine-year drought, Frontier Services, Australia’s oldest bush charity, is calling on Australians far and wide to reunite with family and friends and host a (socially distanced) Great Outback BBQ during the month of January, in support of our farmers who are still doing it tougher than ever.
Throughout January, Frontier Services, a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing face to face support for farmers and graziers in rural communities that need it the most, is encouraging the public to demonstrate solidarity for our hardworking farmers by gathering a few mates together, buying Aussie produce and hosting a Great Outback BBQ.
All funds raised will go towards supporting Frontier Services’ programs, which provide practical and pastoral support to farmers across Australia suffering from severe financial strain, physical and emotional stress and social isolation while dealing with the fall-out of a relentless period of droughts, fires, floods and now the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“After the year we’ve had, we hardly need an excuse to catch up with family and friends, but this is a really good one, allowing you to play a critical part in helping our Aussie farmers in need,” says Jannine Jackson, National Director of Frontier Services. “Gathering around the barbie, making the most of Summer and sizzling up some snags is a fun and easy way to raise much- needed funds to show our Aussie brothers and sisters in the bush that we are with them.”
Jackson said there has never been a more challenging period in history for Australian farmers and their rural communities.
“Dealing with the Pandemic has had a profound impact on our farmers. Not only are many of them still suffering through worst drought in history, but they’ve also lived through the worst bushfire season on record, and we’ve also seen unpredictable weather with flooding in other areas,” she said.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic has stopped many farmers from selling their stock due to the closure of overseas markets and the entire hospitality industry being affected. The financial, emotional and mental health repercussions have been devastating and the pandemic has made providing the support and services so sorely needed by our farmers and their communities even more difficult,” Jackson said.
Frontier Services runs two programs – Bush Chaplaincy and Outback Links. The Bush Chaplains travel tens of thousands of kilometres each year visiting individuals and families on remote properties for cuppa and a chat. They are often the frontline for identifying issues and referring people to other service providers.
Meanwhile, Outback Links connects volunteers with people in remote Australia who could use a helping hand. These volunteers donate their skills throughout the year doing repairs and maintenance on equipment, the home and around the property – free of charge. Group trips of volunteers are also organised to carry out larger projects that individual volunteers might struggle to do on their own.
In 2019/20 alone, $3.3 Million was raised to support the contributions of Bush Chaplains and Outback Links volunteer programs. A total of 20,929 volunteer hours were clocked over 154 volunteer placements, community of more than 1,000 Outback Links volunteers travelling around the country to reach those in need of support.
The last Great Outback BBQ in 2019 raised $235,000 and in 2021 Frontier Services hopes to raise even more. “Our farmers have endured so much for so long. The reality is, it’s going to take years for them to get back to even half of where they were before the drought hit, let alone the more recent natural disasters,” said Jannine. “We’re in it for the long haul and the more Outback BBQs are held this January, the more we can do to help.”