Drought-stricken families welcome homemade relief Queensland's westBy Chrissy Arthur and Nicole Bond, Thursday March 6, 2014 - 11:03 EDT
About 9,000 homemade Anzac biscuits and more than 450 fruit cakes have been sent to drought-affected western Queensland as part of a campaign to support rural families.
The Baked Relief organisation has run a "Love to the West" campaign since last month, asking people in south-east Queensland to bake biscuits and cakes and add personal notes of support for farmers.
Founder Danielle Crismani says the last of the treats are being distributed this week across the central-west, including to areas around Longreach, Barcaldine and Stonehenge.
She says mail contractors have also been delivering some of the goods to remote stations in the Charleville, St George and Mitchell areas.
"We were able to get the baked goods onto the mail run," she said.
"People were arriving home, opening up their letter box, and seeing this beautifully wrapped treat telling them - 'we are from the city, thinking of you during the drought, we are sending our love'.
"Then they would come onto the social media page, and say 'this is really lovely and it has really brightened our day'."
Ms Crismani says she was overwhelmed with the response from city residents who wanted to contribute.
"This is a disaster that people in the city have acknowledged is a disaster, and they do want to help," she said.
"The response that I got was far more than what we thought we were going to get."
Ms Crismani will visit the region this weekend to talk with rural families and school students, and help to distribute some of the packages.
She will speak at events in Longreach, Barcaldine and Alpha this weekend.
Ms Crismani says she is keen to reinforce the message that small gestures are important during difficult periods.
"Such a small thing can make such a big difference," she said.
Letters of support, including drawings and poems from schoolchildren in south-east Queensland, have also been included in the packages.
"We have packaged up all those little drawings and letters the children have done and put quite a lot of them in with the baked goods," she said.
"Also messages of just "we are thinking of you, we realise how tough it is, we can't be there to have a cup of tea and a cake with you, but this is a way we can reach out to you'."
Grazier Annabel Tully from near Quilpie says boxes of the baked goods arrived earlier this week for families in her region.
She told ABC Western Queensland the biscuits and cakes will now be distributed.
"I grabbed all the kids and said 'quick, come and have a look at this, come and have a look'," she said.
"It is a small thing - we don't have time to sit down and have a cup of tea, let alone dunk a biscuit.
"Also you don't have time to bake anything - that is the last thing on my list.
"But it is the most awesome feeling to get a gift from somebody who cares, that is a total stranger."
Mrs Tully says the letter from children and the gift packages that mini fruit cakes with love heart icing were "uplifting".
"The whole theme of it is 'Love to the West', so there are colourful pictures from kids and letters," she said.
"Like one: 'Dear Farmer, thank you for the vegetables, hope you get some rain. Love from Tom' and he's from the Gold Coast.
"It's beautiful, it is really uplifting."
Mary te Kloot, from near Longreach, received Baked Relief food last month, when a church organisation from Murgon also delivered hay to drought-affected families.
"It was so appreciated by everybody there, and it was so lovely of these people to have gone to the trouble to do this for us," she said.
"It is a very humbling experience and it is amazing the number of people who have sent foodstuffs our way.
"[The drought] must be a growing concern for everybody."
© ABC 2014
More breaking news
The seasonal outlook for autumn is hot and dry, but what is causing it? Both maximum and minimum temperatures look to be above average, especially for central Australia, extending down through inland NSW and western VIC.
Wrapping up a hot and humid summer many will be happy to forget, rain is on its way for most of NSW east of the divide.
Although autumn is on the way, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned the hot weather is likely to continue, with warmer than average temperatures forecast for most of southern and eastern Australia.