FUNDRAISING farmer Matt Aldridge is gearing up local support in an inspiring effort to organise a much-needed hay convoy to assist fire-affected farmers who have suffered during the catastrophic bushfires.
Matt, a cattle farmer from Northwood just outside of Seymour, is well-known around the region for founding his charity, The Coo-Wee Ride, which raises much-needed awareness and funds for farmers and veterans suffering from mental health issues such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression.
Matt’s annual charity bike ride, which has raised well-over $50,000 for farmers and veterans since 2016, rode through Corryong and the surrounding areas two years ago.
“It’s shocking to think that a lot of that beautiful area is now burnt. We know a lot of good people up that way and it’s very upsetting that they have to deal with another disaster,” Matt said.
The Coo-Wee Ride have just launched a series of fundraising initiatives, which includes a Coo-Wee Ride Hay Convoy to support farmers in the Upper Murray region.
“We want to fill as many trucks with hay, pellets, fencing gear and other essential farming equipment to allow farms to continue to run and we want to get it up there as quick as we can,” Matt added.
Matt’s goal is to raise $50,000 for the convoy and has already started an online fundraising page on GiveNow.com.au, which has so far raised $2000 in less than two days. Please visit: bit.ly/2N3Cqlt
Other fundraising initiatives will include a fundraising BBQ in Lara, just outside of Geelong, at the Geelong Concrete Surfaces Showroom this Saturday, January 11.
A ‘Rise from the Ashes’ charity concert is also being planned for Corryong’s community at the Colac Colac Caravan Park on Saturday, February 29 and again on Sunday, March 1.
“A lot of people would be there holidaying now but sadly they can’t be, so we want to try and bring them back by hosting a really fun concert to raise enough money and funds for the hay convoy and the town,” Matt said.
Matt says he has already organised some top local acts. “If anyone else would like to help sing their hearts out for our fellow farmers they can contact us through our website at cooweeride.org.au.
“We also had a drought relief concert in Khancoban late last year where a lot of locals that would now be affected by the fires put their hands in their own pockets that night and we raised over $7000 so this is our way of trying to give back,” Matt said.
Matt would like to thank Luke and Jo Humphrey, Lee Eeles, Jodie Bonny for all their support to help start organising the hay convoy.
“We’re just hoping that everything will be safe for the concert and that everyone has a good time,” Matt continued.
“In times of disaster, all you can really do is look out for each other and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
You can find out more about the concert by visiting their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RFTA2020/