Farmers aren’t the only ones who need a boost when it comes to battling unprecedented drought.
Their children also feel the affects of the situation.
Charity Rural Aid are determined to help take their mind off their circumstances and give them “a mental health boost” through its Gift of Music program.
A pile of musical instruments were delivered to students at Muswellbrook South Public School on Friday, and the smiles on their faces said it all.
The charity also brought iPads, Lego and stationary.
The donation was possible thanks to support from Meriton.
“We look at schools and music as a mental health shot in the arm for kids,” general manager Wayne Thomson said.
“They are still affected by the drought, but in a different way.
“If they were out with dad counting dead animals in the morning, it’s something nice to be able to go to school and be able to play a keyboard or a guitar, or play with some Lego and be a kid again, rather than thinking about the stress of what is happening at home.”
The entire Upper and Lower Hunter is still battling unprecedented drought and is classified as being in intense drought, drought or drought affected.
Rural Aid recently dropped off supplies to primary school students at Murrurundi Public School, which is one of the worst-hit areas.
“The teacher tried to thank us on the last day we were there and the tears took over and she said ‘you’ve impacted our school, you’ve changed it and made it better’,” he said.
Rural Aid will take musical supplies to Aberdeen Public School, north of Muswellbrook, on Tuesday.
The charity also dropped off hay bales to a farmer at Denman, which was also sponsored by Meriton.
“One local farmer told me this would give him six week’s worth of feed for his herd, enough time to catch up on some other bills,” Mr Thomson said.
“Another told me he could now get his car repaired, while another said this doesn’t solve the problem, but it sure helps.”
Mr Thomson said conditions remained extremely challenging.
“There are people who think the drought is over and we are trying to remind them that it’s not over. In some places the ground might look green but it’s mostly dirt. Farmers and their communities still need our support,” he said.
“Where there is some green it’s not long enough for a cow to get their tongue around.
“The Bureau of Meterology and the NSW Department of Primary Industries are talking about this year possibly being worse than last year.”
The article’s credit is for the source: The Maitland Mercury