As the convoy of a dozen B-doubles laden with hay rolled into the New South Wales central west township of Condobolin, 450km west of Sydney, a sense of renewed hope welled up in the community as locals cheered and clapped.

After record floods in November 2022, locals were looking for a reason to smile.

And it arrived in the form of 1,300 hay bales – distributed to more than 100 of the district’s flood-hit farmers by the charity Rapid Relief Team (RRT).

The local community turned out to see the farmers shaking hands with RRT volunteers as they loaded up their hay bales at a Farmers Community Connect event where local members of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church turned out to volunteer for RRT, serving hamburgers and coffee to thankful locals. Rural police also attended. More than 275 burgers were served and 245 coffees as well.

RRT Director Lester Sharples said the thrilling scene was recorded by drones and supplied to media outlets, including Channel 7/Prime in Orange who led their nightly news bulletin with the story about the event held at Condobolin Showgrounds.

“It was a tremendous event and more than a hundred locals turned out for the Farmers Community Connect event on Friday,” he stated.

Farmers Community Connect is an initiative designed to bring local communities together by donating feed stock to farmers and offer a range of support services over a free BBQ lunch.

Mr Sharples said RRT’s volunteers from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church hope to serve their local community with Christian values of care and compassion.

“It’s been an incredibly difficult time for farmers in this region impacted by bushfires, the pandemic and then floods and it’s important that as a community we give each other the strength to get through,” he explained.

“We are just glad to be able to provide farmers with some relief and hope – and to let them know that the community values what they do and their place in our lives.”

Lachlan Shire General Manager Greg Tory paid compliment to RRT, saying the charity was well known for their efforts in the local community. He praised the Farmers Community Connect concept where local support services are provided including mental health support, rural financial counselling and veterinary support.

“I wanted to say thanks very much for your efforts here today, this is the fourth time that I am aware of that the Rapid Relief Team have come into our community and supported us in times of need,” he said.

“I want you to know that it is appreciated, the service that you provide is something that is difficult for local government and council to do, and it is so important for our community, particularly the rural sector with the services you made available to them here today – the ability to come to one place and access different services is really great.

“On behalf of council I want to thank you for what you’ve done.”