Chatham congregation compiles pamper packs for families suffering drought

ABOUT 50 pamper packs containing everything from tissues to toilet paper and shampoo are on the way to farming families affected by extreme drought conditions in western New South Wales.

Donated by the Chatham Uniting Church congregation over a six-week period, Helen Russell, who coordinated the donation drive, said the response was "overwhelming".

"The congregation was very supportive and the collection box at the back of the church was overflowing each week."

The contents are the "little things these families may be struggling to afford as the drought means no money is coming in".

A generous donation on Sunday allowed the church to purchase a carton of tissues, 40 rolls of toilet paper and 13 bottles of shampoo.

They also have about 25 packs of five blank cards with envelopes that already have a postage stamp on them.

"It could be that they can't afford to buy a birthday card or a sympathy card, or they can't afford the stamp."

Willing volunteers spent Wednesday morning compiling the packs, which are heading to Cobar to be distributed to those in need by Reverend Joanne Smalbil.

Reverend Smalbil is a "patrol minister" in the Cobar/Nyngan region for Frontier Services, an arm of the Uniting Church which serves remote Australia.

Her area encompasses from Bourke to the north, Hillston to the south, Emmdale to the west and Nevertire to the east.

"The idea is that they will have it at Cobar before Easter."

Helen said the idea to conduct the donation drive came after Frontier Services sent a thank you letter to the church's adult fellowship group for a donation of $500.

"We then got talking at the meeting. Everyone is aware of the severity of the drought and we thought it would help further if we asked people to bring in all (these goods)."

Helen has spoken to reverend Smalbil twice over the phone and once the goods are sent over she will start distributing them, starting at the Easter service.

"Whatever these people get in their bag they will be so grateful for it," said Helen.

"In receiving it, it will allow them to spend that money on something else it could be feed for the animals or shoes for the children."

Packs have been created for men, women and families with children and the church has appreciated the assistance of Bunnings, which made their bags available to them for half price.

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