Surge of support as residents take action into own hands
COMMUNITY support has been one of the strongest things to grow in drought, as tough conditions inspire new initiatives by Southern Downs residents who want to lend a helping hand.
Warwick Show and Rodeo Society events coordinator Teilah McKelvey said the community had been brought together through the heartache.
"I don't know if it's the Australian way, but we do have a tendency to step up when things get bad and support each other when we're able to do so.
"One of the biggest things we can do for mental health is to create a sense of connectedness.
"We're all in this together.”
Yangan man Chris Hudson is also raising funds for a plan to cart water to the region and joining a long line-up of residents stepping up to make sure everyone sees it through.
From David Rawlins in Texas volunteering to work farms for free, Julie Unwin in Warwick collecting sanitary items for homeless women and Kelly Dudley taking on starving poddy cows, there are helpers from all corners doing their bit.
Mr Hudson dreams of driving a water truck to and from Brisbane and supplying free water to whoever needs it.
Mr Hudson said he was at the council offices watching an elderly woman plead for water.
"She just wanted to save her plants,” Mr Hudson said.
"And they literally couldn't do anything for her.
"I just thought, if someone could give her that one little hand to help her up it would make all the difference.”
The maintenance man has lived in the area for more than 11 years and said he'd never seen a drought hit the town so hard.
"My work has quietened right down because a lot of farmers can't afford to get things fixed any more,” he said.
"And when you live in places like Yangan, that aren't connected to the main water supply, a lot of people are struggling hard to keep a supply of basic water.”
Mr Hudson takes a water container in his van to fill up during his weekly trips to Brisbane in search of work.
"It saves water for my town because we just don't have it here,” he said.
"But if I had a truck, I could just deliver it to whoever else needed it, no red tape, no cost, no nothing. That little bit would lift spirits so much in this bad area.”
The only problem, however, is acquiring the truck.
With the help of his two daughters, Mr Hudson set up a GoFundMe account to raise $10,000 to purchase the charity water truck.
The Yangan man said he realised the plan was far-fetched and has been told that "it's just not possible” but he is determined.
"If we can't try, well, what are we going to do?” he said.
"This drought isn't ending any day soon and we have to keep positive.”
"I'm in the same boat as everyone else, but sometimes you've just got to reach out and try something different.”
On the other side of town, Mrs McKelvey has come up with a number of new ideas.
She has a bold vision of an arena full of every sporting club, dance group, community group and business from across the region and beyond, coming together to dance for rain in the dust.
The Community Rain Dance is in the initial planning stages, but Mrs McKelvey said it could provide a major boost to morale and hopefully attract people in urban centres who may be able to lend assistance.
"I want people to know they have support and that we're here for each other.”