More than 90 farmers received vital support at a Farmers Community Connect event in Rochester, Victoria, in December organised by the Rapid Relief Team (RRT) charity.

RRT provided 92 farmers from Rochester and surrounding areas with free hay bales to help them recover and get their farms back up and running in the wake of devastating floods.

Members of the community turned out at Farmers Community Connect for free BBQ, coffee and Krispy Kreme doughnuts supplied by RRT at the Rochester Recreation Reserve.

In all, 1,150 hay bales and 320 x 25 kilogram bags of ryegrass seed were distributed to the farmers.

RRT Operations Manager Mick Dunn said Farmers Community Connect was a real way to show struggling farmers that the community cares and wants to lend a hand.

“Farmers have done it tough over the past few years as they’ve battled through a long-standing drought, bushfires and now to the other end of the extreme, floods,” Mr Dunn said.

“We know that it can take some time to fully recover from the effects of these disasters, so that’s why we’re not only providing financial support, but emotional support by offering a feel-good day out for the farmers to enjoy with a free BBQ lunch, barista coffee and the opportunity to connect with local support services and their mates.

“Times like these really demonstrate the importance of staying connected. We’ve found in these shared, friendly community environments farmers feel more comfortable to talk to different providers of support services or learn about some of the offer on hand.”

RRT is a charity made up of local volunteers from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church who helped run the event in Rochester.

Mr Dunn concluded: “We are happy to help if only in a small way – and our motto is to make a difference showing compassion in action – with our Christian values of care and compassion.

“Flood impacted areas in Victoria and New South Wales still have a long road of recovery ahead, and it’s important we all keep them in our thoughts and prayers but also demonstrate our compassion in action.”