A social media support group for people who are being affected by drought is allowing farmers and others doing it tough to see the community is behind them.
One Day Closer to Rain is the brainchild of Merriwa woman Cassandra McLaren and she created the page as a way to bring people together. It already has more than 3100 members.
“Being in drought can be such an isolating experience. The page is really about being there for each other and letting people know they aren’t alone,” Ms McLaren said.
“Some people are really struggling. The feed bills are rolling in and they don’t have the money, or they are having to sell off stock, but people can talk to each other and share their experiences.”
Ms McLaren said she realised the impact the drought was having on people when her own daughter Emma got upset by their need to sell cattle.
She posted the story to her Facebook page and was shocked by the show of support she got from family and friends.
That got her thinking about how important encouragement and support was and sparked her decision to start One Day Closer to Rain.
The name of the page was inspired by her husband Peter, whose optimistic response to any discussion about the weather is that rain is one day closer.
Ms McLaren said the popularity of the page has exceeded her expectations and she has been delighted by how active people have been with contributions.
“I thought we might get a few hundred people but that’s about it. I didn’t think we would have 3000 people within two weeks. We have members from every mainland state as well as one from New Zealand and one in Paris,” she said.
“But it’s not just the number of people who have joined. In the first two weeks the engagement on the page has been 15,500. People aren’t just joining but they are contributing to the discussion.
“We hope this might make people aware of what farmers are going through.”
On Thursday, Ms McLaren announced the launch of an awareness campaign, encouraging people and shopholders to display a logo showing support and understanding for the hardship some are experiencing because of the drought. The logo is available on the group’s facebook page.
While farmers and landholders may make up the majority of those who are members of One Day Closer to Rain, Ms McLaren said everyone was welcome.
“We want everyone who being affected to come and get involved. The effects of drought are much wider than just the farmers. Entire communities do it tough when there is a drought,” she said.
“The page isn’t doom and gloom either. People want to have a bit of a laugh. Someone posted they were selling their rain gauge because they thought it was faulty.
“It’s also somewhere people can network, or post details of workshops coming up and we have even had people asking about where to buy seeds and what they should be feeding. It shows people are happy to help each other.”