At just 17 years-old, Annabelle Kingston is one of those people who makes things happen around her. The Sydney-based school student is improving the lives of farming families across Australia by sending those in need a special gift of love and support.
Raised on a mixed farm in the Riverina at Tootool, which as the crow flies, is only a short distance from AgriFutures Australia’s headquarters in Wagga Wagga, Annabelle has seen first-hand the impact drought can have on small communities.
“We are always being taught at school to do things that can make the world a better place,” said Annabelle who is at boarding school.
“I did something about an issue and my message to other young rural women is that one person can make a difference. Women are amazing and whatever you do, set your mind to it, and let nothing stop you.”
A family road trip to Longreach in Queensland became the catalyst for change.
“Just because the grass is green doesn’t mean everything is okay because after years of drought farmers still have massive debt,” said Annabelle.
“In Longreach it was so dry, there was no grass left and it was such an eye opener.”
“Your natural instinct is to help, and I just put it into action.”
After years of cashing in bottles in the “return and earn” program, she had enough cash to finance her dream of owning a small business.
“I rang up Mum and Dad and said I wanted to do something to help those farmers doing it tough and I began by ordering some hats,” said Annabelle.
“Dad said order ten hats, so I ordered fifty and we sold out.”
After a night dreaming up slogans with a school friend, she came up with “Fetch it for a farmer”. Annabelle created a range of products such as hats, stickers, and stubby holders which are all on the website she created: https://fetchitforafarmer.weebly.com/#/
When you buy one of these products the profits go towards grocery gift vouchers, valued at $200. This enables farming families to pay for necessities such as groceries which is sometimes an everyday struggle.
Local Wagga Wagga businesses have also rallied to support her products and she also has established a central location where food vouchers can be ordered.
Annabelle uses only local independent retailers so that local communities benefit from the program.
An important part of the program involves identifying farmers who might benefit from a voucher.
“Sometimes, people send us names of farming families doing it tough and we have also compiled a list of people who might need a hand,” said Annabelle.
Since January this year, the program has delivered up to 30 vouchers to areas in Northern NSW amd QLD such as Longreach, Narrabri, Wee Waa, Quirindi and Mundarlo in the Riverina.
“We are now getting our stocks ready and preparing for Christmas to reach out to those families who will be struggling,” said Annabelle.
International Day of Rural Women
We have launched a hashtag #hatsofftoruralwomen across our social media channels and encourage you to use this hashtag and share the stories of the rural, regional and remote women you work with and the reasons why they inspire you.
For more information about the United Nations’ International Day of Rural Women, please visit: https://www.un.org/en/observances/rural-women-day