When Tanya and Luke Purcell told their two girls, aged 4 and 9, about the severe drought that’s brought farmers in NSW to their knees, it sparked an unwavering determination to help.
Charlotte, 4, and Molly, 9, started thinking of ways they could help a farmer. And when it rained at their place, Charlotte ran outside with an empty bucket to fill it up with water. She then asked her mum to drive her to a drought-stricken farm so she could give the water to the animals.
That initial conversation a few months back led them to drive more than 1000 kilometres this week on a tour of drought-stricken NSW so they could see the extent of the situation for themselves.
They’ve seen endless bare paddocks along the way – and lots of hungry stock.
We found their story so inspiring that we decided to tell it today. We know it’s not a local story – the family are actually from north-east Victoria – but it’s such a poignant reminder of the change we can all make if we decide to have a go.
Related content: Sign the NSW Drought Petition and collect signatures to help farmers
Charlotte has been especially passionate about doing her bit – and she hasn’t even started school yet. It wasn’t long after her water saving efforts that she came running in to tell her mum that they had to buy lots of apples to feed the horses who had nothing to eat.
Charlotte and Molly made cards for farmers, raided their piggy banks, and pulled together care packages with the help of their mum and dad.
Molly’s card is particularly moving. It reads:
I’m sorry that the drought is so bad with no rain and that your crops aren’t growing also. I’m sorry that your animals are dying and you can’t kill them to eat them because they’re too skinny. I hope soon it rains and your animals are still on earth by then. I hope these things we got last a little bit and make you feel better.
Love and care from Molly Purcell, age 9.”
Luke has used three weeks of annual leave to take the family on the trip – in their camper van, and the Mercury hopes to catch up with them in the Hunter as they make their way home.
We organised for them to meet sheep farmers north of Tamworth on Wednesday.
The girls gave them their handmade cards, a cake and enough groceries to fill a trolley – and the family spent some time learning about sheep farming and baby lambs.