Potentially truckloads of free hay will be heading to desperate Tenterfield farms thanks to a Make It Tenterfield buy-a-bale fundraising initiative.
Carmel Higgins raised the idea to raffle a couple of hay bales at a meeting last week, well before the fires, also offering some of her handcrafted handbags as prizes as well.
She said events that have unfolded since coupled with the influx of Peter Allen Festival visitors have spurred the fundraising appeal, with those visitors galvanised to do what they can to help.
Ms Higgins and crew spent all of Saturday in the main street accepting donations and selling raffle tickets, with every cent going towards purchasing hay. First prize is two large heavy round bales of sugarcane tops donated by Laurie Bell, but many ticket buyers have nominated that the bales be donated back to the cause should they win.
"It's been an amazing response," she said.
As a result she has raised more than $1400, enough money so far to buy 25 more bales. She'll be at the Haddington fete on Saturday to sell more tickets and accept donations to raise more funds as there will out-of-towners there well.
She has lined up the Salvation Army's Joel Soper to organise a ballot for the bales, and farmers in need are urged to register for the ballot either through the Salvos, at the Make It Centre (above Mitre 10) or wherever raffle tickets are being sold. They can be found at local clubs and real estate agents.
Meanwhile Mayor Peter Petty is organising to get the bales shipped from Casino to Tenterfield for free using council transport, saving around $16 a bale.
Mr Bell contacted his hay supplier Damien Macrae at Casino to secure more bales for the project. When Mr Macrae learned of the circumstances he committed to matching the fundraised shipment bale-for-bale, up to a full truck load.
"She should now be able to get up to 80 large round bales for drought- and fire-affected farmers, a huge effort by her for the cause," Mr Bell said.
Ms Higgins would love to fill both council's low-loader and semi, with a capacity of 40 and 60 bales respectively.
The ballot is lined up for the middle of next week, so register for a bale or get in and buy plenty of tickets before them.