Listen: Rusty and Dianne Lawson in conversation with Stephen O’Doherty.
The Salvation Army are in drought-affected areas conducting regular visits to farmers and rural communities and helping them in any way they can by distributing food hampers, helping with bill payments and other financial expenses, assisting with farm and household jobs, and providing emotional and practical support.
Rural Chaplains for The Salvation Army, Rusty and Dianne Lawson, are traveling around northwest New South Wales providing the necessary support for many farmers who have lost hope. They took a break on the road near Inverell to explain their work on Open House.
“You see the tears”
Rusty says it is hard to comprehend the horrific circumstances many farmers are dealing with right now.
“It’s only when you see the tears that you get a real sense of how broken and hopeless the situation has become,” Rusty says.
“We are seeing farmers going without their medication to pay for the needs of their livestock. Many are starting to seriously wonder what the future holds for them.”
“Having supported farmers for more than 100 years, the Salvos realise just how important hope is for those who don’t have it during these difficult times.”
Hard to ask for help
In a letter to The Salvation Army, one farmer assisted by Rusty and Dianne said: “I did not like having to ask for assistance, farmers seem to be so proud and want to do it alone. But for the first time in 25 years of farming, I felt like it was time to reach out and allow someone else to help us out. It took a lot for me emotionally to ask for help, but I finally figured I was a farmer, so maybe it is ok to ask. The overwhelming thoughtfulness has been a god-send during this tough time.”
Hope for the future
Dianne says for farmers to know that people from the city are standing alongside them has given them hope for the future.
“They have been crying out for a long time but now they are finally seeing some momentum and it is lifting their spirits. But we need more resources to give them the practical support they need to get them back on their feet,” Dianne says.
Donate to the Slavos
Across the country, The Salvation Army, through its Rural Chaplains and regional Corps, are providing essential services for farmers in need but there is so much more that needs to be done.
To support The Salvation Army’s work with farmers and communities affected by the drought, please call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or donate now.
About Rural Chaplaincy
The Salvation Army provides a network of support for people in regional and remote areas in need of practical assistance, or who would simply benefit from a listening ear or a hand of friendship.
The Salvation Army currently has over a dozen rural chaplains across Australia including three Outback Flying Services that cover millions of square kilometres across south, central and north Queensland and the Northern Territory. Salvation Army Officers and staff stationed at rural and regional centres regularly visit farmers and rural workers in need of practical and emotional support.
The Salvation Army’s Rural Support Service and regional Salvation Army Corps provide services such as:
- Financial assistance, food, help with bill payments and or other expenses, and assistance with farm and household jobs
- Visits to farmers and rural workers offering emotional and practical support as well as pastoral care
- Liaison with government, community and statutory bodies to provide integrated support and holistic care
Find a local Salvation Army Corps or Centre who may be able to help or call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58).
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