North Canterbury farmers received a boost of energy after 450 Spring Energy Packs were delivered to them by Westpac and the North Canterbury Rural Support Trust.
The special deliveries are part of a larger initiative to support North Canterbury drought-affected farmers and were delivered the week before the devastating November 14 earthquake.
Westpac says they are committed to continue supporting the local community since the quake and have a variety of other initiatives now underway.
The Spring Energy Packs included goodies and an invitation to a High Tea with Westpac Ambassador Sophie Pascoe.
Westpac Senior Agribusiness Manager, Nick Martin, says more than 30 Westpac volunteers from all over the bank and Rural Support Trust members met in Amberley before heading out to farms for the day to personally hand out the special packs which came with no strings attached.
“We had 15 cars and around 30-odd packs each. Each car was given a colour-coded map and road names to go and visit.”
He said if farmers weren’t home, the packs were left on the front doorstep and while a large area was covered it would be impossible to get to everyone but those that missed out may get to attend the High Tea in December depending on the number of responses.
Westpac Rangiora Branch Manager Tracy McPhedran says the drought has been going on for a couple of years now and has been hitting the North Canterbury rural communities hard.
“The Rural Support Trust and Drought Response Committee have done a fabulous job supporting them and we were lucky we could connect in with them as they have a lot of local knowledge and obviously could help us make sure we get to the right people.”
North Canterbury Rural Support Trust Chairman, Doug Archbald, says Westpac organising the Spring Energy Packs was a fantastic gesture.
“A lot of farmers would have come back in from work and received the pack at their door. The feedback I’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive. It just lets farmers know that people do actually care and that’s really important. It’s a real morale booster.”
He says the Hurunui District has been the hardest hit for drought.
“They’re on a knife edge really. It’s a week to week thing, and while you have some rain every few days that’s fine, but there’s no reserves in the soil.
“Nearly every farmer in this area would only have 70 or 80% at the most of their normal stock as their numbers are down due to drought.”
One farmer visited best described the situation as “farming on the right side of that knife edge at the moment.”