Nothing inspires more generosity and kindness more than when someone is suffering.
It is the reason Riverina residents have been digging deep to assist drought-stricken farmers.
But age has proven no barrier when it comes to giving your neighbour a leg-up, after one five-year-old donated his life savings to the cause this week.
Wagga charity groups, schools, families and individuals have been sharing their selfless fundraising efforts across recent weeks, following the reveal farmers were doing it tough.
Their message to struggling families on the land: “help is on the way”.
Everyone has been really supportive. How could you not be?Sharon Gill
The dire circumstances of farmers came to light, after the entire state had been affected by drought, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The Department of Primary Industries’ combined drought indicator in July showed 70.6 per cent of the region was “drought affected” and a further 28.6 per cent – including parts of the Murrimbidgee – was officially in drought-declared.
Fairfax Media in May reported the dry was shaping up to be akin to the 1982 drought. With a dry summer around the corner, the forecast appeared bleak.
Ultimately, the state needs rain. But in its place, residents as young as Cale Merlehan have been reaching into their pockets, wallets, piggy-banks and purses to help men and women on the land survive the grasp of an unrelenting dry spell.
When the five-year-old came to preschool with the “silvies and goldies” he had saved up to help farmers.
His kindness and selflessness inspired St Mary’s Preschool to create a special fundraiser, alongside more than 70 associated families at North Wagga.
“Farmers need hay,” Cale said. “Because they (the cows) are hungry.”
Preschool director Sharon Gill said it hoped to raise enough across the week to “Buy a Bale”.
“Everyone’s been really supportive,” Ms Gill said. “How can you not be?”
In addition to the efforts of the city’s youngsters, Wagga businesses like Unique Edge Hair Salon, Woolworths Caltex, Bunnings and others have also jumped on board the fundraising bandwagon, with most contributing funds to the popular Buy a Bale operation.
Pubs have been offering “Parma’ For a Farmer” specials and individuals like John Fardell have organised their own money-raising schemes and projects.
Mr Fardell said he had made a purpose-built pot plant stand, that he raffled at the Country Music Club in Culcairn two weeks ago and raised about $368.
“I grew up on a property, so I know what it’s like,” Mr Fardell said. “You do what you can to help … every little bit counts.”