6 things you need to know before you volunteer
We interviewed charities to get the basics of volunteering.
Farmers have labelled it the worst drought they’ve seen in almost two decades and with more hot, dry conditions forecast, it doesn’t look like there’s much relief in sight.
Aussies are known for their mateship and now, more urgently than ever, it’s time to rally behind our farmers, but many of us simply don’t know where to start.
We’ve put together some practical ways you can make a difference, regardless of whether you’re a city slicker or living in the country.
The most obvious way you can help with drought relief is by donating money to a recognised charity, like the Australian Red Cross or Rural Aid. Choosing a well-known charity means your support will be fairly distributed to a larger group of farmers.
Funds raised by Aussies have so far contributed toward much-needed water, animal feed and everyday essentials including money for groceries, bills and school fees. Be a little more cautious when it comes to crowdsourcing campaigns because the website you donate to may charge fees or take a cut of the donations.
It’s not just money that can help, but volunteering your time can also make a big difference. In NSW, the Lions Club run the Need for Feed disaster relief, delivering truckloads of hay across the state to the farmers who need it most. The project has a variety of roles to fill, from packing and lifting to admin and fundraising.
Not in NSW? Check out Farm Rescue – a charity that sends out volunteers (their Farm Army) across NSW, Victoria and Queensland to help rural communities fix-up or build community infrastructure. They’re always on the search for tradies, general volunteers and suppliers, so there’s bound to be a role that suits you.
Another way you can help our farmers is as easy as being mindful about the produce you’re buying. Head to your farmer’s market and buy your fruit, veg, meat and dairy from the source wherever possible – this means the profits will go straight to your farmers (and not to the big grocery supermarkets).
Don’t let a bruised piece of fruit or a marked vegetable stop you from buying – our food isn’t made to look perfect! For helpful tips on how to fight food waste and become a conscientious consumer, check out nib foundation partner OzHarvest.
Understanding the time and effort that our farmers are putting into providing us with fresh fruit and vegetables is also important. Aim to reduce your food wastage by safely freezing leftover meat and produce (Lifehacker has a great guide to which ones freeze best) – frozen bananas and berries can be used in a bunch of delicious ways, including this superfood brekkie smoothie.
At nib, we are offering six months of free health insurance to eligible drought-affected members
When it comes to our farmers, you aren’t the only one wanting to lend a helping hand. At nib, we are offering a health insurance premium waiver to eligible drought-affected members, which effectively gives these members and their family six months of free health insurance.
We’ve also announced a new partnership between nib foundation and Upper Hunter Community Services (UHCS) to provide drought-impacted families with financial aid. The $50,000 package will enable farming families to continue to shop locally for their everyday needs and support a series of events to unite the community.
We’re hoping these initiatives will ease some of the financial pressure for those Aussies who need it the most. If you or someone you know might be affected by the drought, visit our Health Insurance Premium Relief page for eligibility criteria and information on how to apply. For more information about how UHCS can help, contact 02 6542 3555.
For other drought support, visit: