Molly’s story: supporting farmers in need

Molly is a girl making a difference, with the support of her family, her community, and (of course!) her Guide Unit.

Molly (10) lives with her sister Charlotte (4) and their parents near Mansfield, Victoria. About six months ago, Molly and Charlotte’s parents had a discussion with them about the drought and its impact on farmers in New South Wales. The girls started brainstorming ways that they could help farmers in need.

When it started raining in Mansfield, Charlotte rushed outside with her little bucket and filled it up with rainwater. She told Molly and her parents that they needed to give the bucket of rainwater to drought-affected farmers in New South Wales.

That bucket of water never made it to New South Wales, but Molly and Charlotte have made a phenomenal difference to dozens of drought-affected farming families in New South Wales through their community service project Charlotte’s Drought Journey.

When Charlotte picked up her bucket, it inspired her family to take action.

In the early days of Charlotte’s Drought Journey, Molly and Charlotte made cards and used their pocket money to make care packages for farmers.

In her card, Molly wrote this message:

Dear farmers,

I’m sorry that the drought is so bad and that your crops aren’t growing … I hope soon it rains and your animals are still on earth by then. I hope these things we got last a little bit and make you feel better.

Love and care from Molly Purcell, age 9

Charlotte and Molly painting pictures to give to farming families.

From those small beginnings, Molly’s family took a road trip to visit drought-affected farming communities in New South Wales.

The goal of the road trip was for the family to collect much-needed items and deliver them directly to farmers in need. It spanned 3 weeks and over 4 thousand kilometres.

The family visited towns off the beaten track and got names of farmers needing assistance. They spent time in each place, getting to know the farmers and their kids.

‘The farmers were overwhelmed by kids wanting to come all this way to wish them well,’ said Molly’s mother Tanya. ‘We kept in touch with them. We’re now up to our sixth trip.’

Molly, her family, and some community supporters.

In the following months, the local community heard what Molly’s family were doing for farmers and wanted to help. 

Molly’s family planned more trips to visit farmers interstate. Their community held fundraisers and asked local businesses to donate much-needed items such as hay for the cows, dog food, and canned goods. Isuzu Trucks donated a truck for the family to transport goods interstate.

In Mansfield, Mark’s IGA supermarket raised $850 and the Commercial Hotel raised $650 to buy goods for the farmers. People in Benalla also donated goods, and the Gough’s Bay community raised a whopping $22,500 for the farmers.

Molly in a van full of goodies for farmers.

Molly’s Guide Unit have followed the project from the start.

Molly’s Unit Leader, Narelle, considers the project a fantastic example of how to offer practical help to others. ‘It’s shown the other girls in the Unit that you can achieve what you put your mind to.’

The Mansfield Guides have helped with donations and gathering Christmas items for farming families. They’re also looking to pay the membership fees of two Guides in a drought-affected town.

‘The biggest part of supporting Molly is letting her know that the Unit and I are completely there if she needs help,’ Narelle said. ‘We’re all very proud of Molly and her sister.’

Through all the work she has done to support farmers, Molly earned her Create Australia badge and a community service badge.

Molly’s community service has helped her to become more confident.

‘Molly has really come out of her shell,’ Tanya said. ‘She’s made friends with the farmers and their kids, and she always knows when someone needs a hug. She’s very compassionate and caring with the kids.’

At the Unit meeting after the first road trip, Molly gave a talk to the other Guides about everything she’d learned and answered lots of questions from the other girls.

‘They were so lovely and supportive of what she has been doing,’ said Tanya.

Molly with her new Guide badges and a big smile.

Charlotte’s Drought Journey is continuing over Christmas.

Molly’s family recently made the drive again up to a town in rural New South Wales, where they gave presents and food to nineteen farming families, and supplied the goods needed for four community Christmas functions for farmers.

They held a Christmas barbecue for farmers where they handed out hampers, gifts, and vouchers for farmers to spend in struggling local businesses in drought-affected towns.

‘We’ve gotten a lot out of it too,’ said Molly’s mother Tanya. ‘We’ve become friends with complete strangers.’

Molly’s efforts demonstrate the positive ripple effects that can occur when we support one another, and just how possible it is to really make a difference to communities in need.

Molly and Charlotte’s journey continues.

Charlotte’s Drought Journey collects much-needed items for farmers in crisis. These items change depending on what is most needed, and depending on the Purcell family’s time and resources.

To learn more, visit Charlotte’s Drought Journey: Bringing a Bucket of Love to Farmers.

Molly’s letter was first published in this article.

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