Ag volunteers needed

Michelle Slater

A Gippsland rural aid charity that helps local farming families in need is looking for a range of volunteers to help out in its Traralgon warehouse.

Gippsland Farmer Relief is particularly on the lookout for a fundraising coordinator to take care of the charity’s incoming community donations and become part of the team.

GFR chief executive Melissa Ferguson said they needed someone to help out every Wednesday, preferably with fundraising or administrative experience.

“We are a local charity and we give 100 per cent to local farmers and this is what separates us from other rural charities,” Ms Ferguson said.

“We work on the ground and we form connections with the community providing household relief.”

GFR general manager Jan Stirling said they were always on the lookout for volunteers to be rostered on for a few hours a month to pack or deliver food hampers, sort donations or help in the office.

“Volunteers get the pleasure of seeing grateful reactions and knowing they are assisting farmers who are experiencing dire conditions,” Ms Stirling said.

“In the warehouse, we banter and laugh together and they have a great time while the work gets done, you get to meet new people and rapport with the team.”

Gippsland Farmer Relief formed in Yinnar in 2016 when the farm gate milk price crashed and some Gippsland farmers were doing it tough.

The charity grew and it now has about 40 volunteers working out of warehouses in Traralgon and Bairnsdale, packing and delivering food hampers and vouchers to battling farming families. It has about 100 farmers on the books, mainly in east Gippsland where producers are in the drought.

Farmers are usually referred from family, or local community members to receive hampers of pantry items, and can also be referred on to financial and counselling services.