You'll never be alone
19 September 2019
The following is a story shared by a Salvos Community Care Worker in March of this year. It's of a farmer who reluctantly came for assistance in drought ravaged Toowoomba. He is one of the many thousands we were able to provide support to thanks to you. We have chosen not to share their names in order to protect the farmerís privacy.
I had a farmer come in yesterday who you could see was totally out of his comfort zone. This was a man in his late 60s that had a few days earlier been to the funeral of his neighbouring farmer who had taken his own life about 10 days earlier. He went on to say that farmers are resourceful people and they can survive for some time when things are bleak, but when youíve destocked and your freezer is empty, you can't eat a fence post.
He had come to collect his first ever gift card to buy food after having called the Salvos for assistance. He was embarrassed and uncomfortable despite my efforts to help him relax.
We chatted for a while and I talked him into taking some bread while we activated his card. I took him to the store room where he gathered another two bags of groceries, somewhat reluctantly to take with him. He joked about the sun-tan line on his legs because he was out of his work boots and in thongs for a change, exposing his white feet.
I thought about the life of this man, still trying to make a joke amid the tragedy of losing a neighbour, trying to tough it out on the land with no immediate promise of rain, no food in the house - his awkwardness in asking for help. And his lack of digital knowledge to activate his card on a tiny phone that was dwarfed in his hardworking scarred hands. He proudly said he could receive messages on it but didnít know how to send them. This in itself created isolation.
This man's scenario broke my heart as I thought about what it had cost him to come and see us for help. I find myself praying and asking God how we can make it easier for desperately needy, genuine people like 'my farmer' to seek the help they need? I pray that when they leave they feel better and have found a reason and hope to keep going.