at ‘peace’ Mass
Women’s league lifts spirits in bush
By Chris Lindsay
Money raised by the Catholic Women’s League has provided much appreciated hampers of food and other goods for farming families in the Brewarrina district of NSW suffering from one of the harshest droughts on record.
League council member Margaret Bouffler says that the plight of families in the bush led the league to approach the Sisters of Charity Outreach Country Care Line which was in touch with the needs of country people, especially through its Women on the Land connection.
As a result of this contact, the league sent a cheque for $1000 to Dominican Sr Margaret Cameron at Brewarrina, where the drought began in 2000.
The money was used to buy goods from Brewarrina’s two local stores and prepare 50 $40 hampers, 30 of which were distributed to families in the immediate area and the rest to the local rural finance counsellor for distribution further afield.
“The owner of the local general store knew only too well the needs of his customers and what they were doing without to stretch their dwindling incomes to provide food for their families,” Mrs Bouffler said.
“So, at his suggestion, items such as toilet paper, disinfectant and insect repellent were included. Items we consider essential can suddenly become secondary when money runs out.”
This first donation caused a flow on effect.
There were also donations of $565 from the league’s Sydney annual general meeting and $500 from the Malabar Branch.
Kingsgrove collected $500 which was sent to Sr Pat Bradly at Werris Creek; Clifton Gardens branch sent $900 through the Rural Religious Women’s Group which works to support families in the Tullamore, Lockhart and Balranald districts.
The Oatley branch raised $400 for Parkes which was distributed through the St Vincent de Paul Society.
“Local organisations know where the need is greatest and spending the money in the townships helps everyone,” Mrs Bouffler said.
One league member told her husband of the donations; he suggested similar action to the local Rotary and golf clubs and soon another $2000 was on its way to Brewarrina, together with $200 from the Enfield branch of the league.
“The stories of what happened to the donations are starting to come back to us,” Mrs Bouffler said. “One woman was grateful to receive $200, which she immediately gave to her local general store where she had an ever-growing debt.
“The shopkeepers are carrying their customers through this difficult time now that the banks have left.
“Another woman said on receiving $200: ‘Oh, that will nearly pay to buy water for a week’.
“How difficult it is for us in the city to appreciate the burden of paying $200 every week for water!
“One of our members said: ‘We know our efforts are small in relation to the ongoing drought disaster but we want our country friends to know how much we care and how hard we are praying that rain will come soon.’
“We know from messages received that while the donations are greatly appreciated the real thanks is the knowledge that country and city are one when trouble comes.
“Fortunately recently there has been some rain, but the drought is still with us. We need a lot more.”