Need for Feed was established back in 2006/7 in response to what was at that time the driest period on record and what became known as the Millennium Drought. The bushfires that raged as a consequence of the drought affected many farmers and rural communities.
At that time, reportedly 3 farmers per week around Australia were taking their own lives and many others walking off the land, unable to cope with circumstances beyond their control. This is what caught the attention of a Lions Club member. Like many of our great Lions projects, the idea behind it came from one Club member with a special interest in making a difference.
That Lions Club member was Graham Cockerell, who had lost his own father years before to farm related suicide, and didn’t want see other farmers and their families go through the same heartbreak.
The point is, says Graham, “My father wasn’t a bad farmer, in fact quite the opposite; He found himself in circumstances beyond his control where he could see no other way out”.
Graham had given away one small truckload of his own hay to a group of farmers burnt out in East Gippsland. When he saw the scale of the destruction and spoke to those affected, he returned home determined to do something about it. He talked to his Lions Club, got them on board and rounded up a group of mates to get involved with the fundraising and finding more hay.
From quite humble beginnings, as an organization our Lions Club Project Need for Feed has grown and grown to the point where we could now be considered the leading volunteer organization providing hope and help for farmers and rural communities across most of the country.
THE NEED FOR FEED STORY
We are now recognised as the leading provider of emergency fodder at a state and national level by governments and other agencies. That is in no small part due to the hard work and dedication of our band of Lions members and other volunteers.
The total value of aid delivered over the life of the project to date would be in excess of $30 million.
We came to forefront for the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 and have continued on each year through fires, floods and droughts to provide fodder and raising funds to keep the trucks rolling.
Our response to the latest drought has seen well over 1300 truckloads of fodder worth around 12 million dollars delivered to farmers totally free of charge into all of the eastern states including Tasmania and South Australia, along with more than 700 truckloads with a value of at least $6.5 million for those affected by the Black Summer’s horrific fires. The flooding rains that followed the drought and fires has seen another 500 plus truck loads delivered across the eastern seaboard. These deliveries are usually accompanied by household hampers, personal care packs, Lions teddies and toys for the kids, and food for our best mates. Every farm has at least one dog!
Now in our 16th. Year, we at Need for Feed take great pride not only in being managed 100% by volunteers but also 2 years ago being adopted as a national Project of Lions Australia.
Last year we became a registered charity in our own right, at the same time remaining a Lions Club project and continuing to be managed 100% by volunteers, something we hold dear, and something that makes us unique.