On Thursday afternoon I had a call from Samantha Wantling from Granite Belt Water Relief.
This is the group who distribute bulk water for stock, some domestic drinking water (20 X 1 L packs and 10 L bottles), dogfood, and some groceries  for the most needy.
They are based at the old Landmark building at Applethorpe and open on Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning.
Sam asked if Rotary could cook a BBQ Saturday morning.  They provided the BBQ, tent, tools, all the meat+salad+bread.  All we had to do was cook and serve.
I accepted the request and Jim Baxter and I were in attendance from 8 am to 11.15 am.
We cooked a swag of sausages and steaks and served probably 150 people. 
Their operation is well organized and there are some great people involved.
It was an eye opener seeing some of the folk who are obviously struggling.  Some are not struggling financially but just need stock water.   Water is pumped into 1,000 litres pods on the back of utes and trucks, or on trailers.  They filled 110 on Saturday and 70 on Wednesday.  Most people also took 20 litres of drinking water.  Over 200,000 litres in a week !
There is a very empathetic team of ladies in the office who did the paperwork (its very well organized),  counselled when needed to, and distributed some laundry vouchers on Rotary’s behalf (14 in total).  The ladies are good at recognizing who is in need and provided quiet and dignified charity. They have a room set up as a pantry and when I went to the kitchen to get more BBQ supplies I noticed how they quietly ushered a few ladies into it, gave them some shopping bags and closed the door.  I saw several ladies leave in tears of gratitude.
I was privy to one person reporting how they had had 2 horses put down this week due to lack of feed and water.
Some families had a car full of children and were only too glad to get a free sausage on bread!
There was donation tin and probably collected $40 which we gave to Samantha for next week’s supplies.
We had to say to nearly every person “Would you like a free breakfast?”  or “why don’t you let me cook you a free burger while your pod is filling?”  or “ hello, how are you,  don’t leave without getting a free sausage on bread”.   We actually would walk down the queue of utes and talk to them and their family thru the car window to coax them out.  Charity makes many people shy but a kind word from a Rotarian, an un-judgmental smile and kind word helps.  Just like our plant voucher gifts sometimes its just symbolic.  A free feed and treating someone with helpful dignity allows them to leave with a bit more than just some water and dogfood.
This was an opportunity to
  1. Do some community service.
  2. Assist another group who is really helping the community
  3. Fly the Rotary flag by wearing our shirts and aprons, we had the Rotary table cloth and the pull-up banner.
As always no good works ever happen without helping both the giver and receiver.  Jim and I both felt the ups and downs when one is involved in front line charity.
I will give a short report on Monday night, but I am suggesting that Rotary provides the man-power for this task every Saturday morning for as long as this drought goes on.  The longer it goes the greater the need will become unfortunately.
It only needs 2 people.  Any more and its wasted labour and you would get underfoot of the hive of activity out there.
I’m happy to do some regular Saturdays and Peta will make up the team of 2 (she was in Gundy today).   I’m thinking Jim will line up again too.
Please consider this Community Service opportunity.
Best regards,  Stephen T.