There’s an Angel on the line
Imagine watching a wall of water come crashing through your property. A path of destruction left in its wake; your tractor simply floating away.
You’re unable to get to your livestock because the ground is too wet, the water too deep.
You watch them desperately trying to swim to higher ground, but instead becoming tangled in fences.
It’s a heartbreaking vision.
And for those farmers who do face devastating situations like this due to natural disasters, it’s often only the beginning of their troubles, with the impacts being long and far reaching.
For Suzanne Kerr, this is just one of the many stories of trials and adversity that she’s heard from our Aussie farmers recently.
As these farmers share their stories with Suzanne over the phone, she lends them a sympathetic ear and helps them access tangible relief and financial support.
But she also does so much more – as one of our Angels on the Phone, Suzanne provides these often isolated farmers with a lifeline. A way to find connection in the aftermath of devastation.
Finding common ground
Suzanne describes herself as ‘farmer focussed and farmer driven’. Which is not surprising given her background, growing up on a remote grazing property in Central Queensland.
Her rural life experiences allow her to connect with farmers. They provide a common ground to talk about cattle, or sheep prices and other farm related issues. She has also experienced first-hand the impact natural disasters have on farming families; with her own family encountering numerous challenges due to ongoing drought.
She recalls every day being a constant battle to keep going.
It is this shared lived experience, that makes Suzanne and our other Angels on the Phone so uniquely qualified to be the voice on the line for our struggling farmers.
All of our Angels on the Phone are either farmers themselves or have rural life experience. Which means they can understand the challenges faced by our farming community.
For Suzanne, it is heartbreaking to hear of whole crops being destroyed, or families kept up at night desperately working through options to keep their farm afloat. But she firmly believes her role and that of the other Angels on the Phone helps ease the pain, when farmers can share their experiences and challenges.
She says, “Without my role, I strongly believe there may be some who would give up doing what they do best, which is feeding and clothing all Australians.”
She shares that the primary producers who she connects with as an Angel on the Phone, have usually been affected by adverse circumstances, and often experience distress, feelings of anxiety, sadness and hopelessness.
It is why your support of Drought Angels is so important. Without you, roles like Suzanne’s wouldn’t exist. And these farmers may not receive the support they need to continue to push through such challenging circumstances both on and off the land.
The impact of your support
Our Angels on the Phone help process online applications to provide financial assistance for primary producers. They also conduct mental well-being checks, through regular check-in phone calls and referrals as needed. It’s an important way of improving this group’s community connections and supporting individual well-being and recovery.
And it means the world to our farmers. One farmer, who spoke with Suzanne and was provided with some much-needed vouchers expressed,
“You have no idea how much this means to our family.
You may look at it as a little token of appreciation for what we do as farmers, however it is much more than that.
After a few tough years it means the absolute world and just the ‘pick me up’ it gave us to receive this has been huge.”
For Suzanne, this is what makes her job so rewarding. Hearing first-hand how much of an impact this support you enable means to our farming families. It’s support that would have been invaluable for her own family when she was growing up.
As Suzanne herself said, with your support our Angels on the Phone are able to help “… provide motivation, and an opportunity that might result in relief from financial hardship”.
It’s powerful, and it’s personal and it’s ensuring that no farmer has to face uncertainty alone.