Mudgee Travel & Cruise’s Glenn Box wrapped and dispatched two trucks full of Christmas ‘presents’ to struggling farmers in late December, all thanks to the generosity of his fellow Travellers Choice members and the retail group's much valued industry partners.
Almost $12,000 was raised for Box's charity 200BALES - set up last year to buy much-needed stock feed for drought-affected farmers in the NSW mid-west region - during the Travellers Choice Shareholders’ Conference in Cairns in early December. As well as member donations, suppliers such as The Africa Safari Co., U by Uniworld, Adventure World, Scenic and Swagman Tours all chipped in with cash and raffle prizes.
The hay bales purchased with the funds arrived in mid-December and three days before Christmas they were loaded onto two semi-trailers in Mudgee and delivered to local farmers. The whole process involved an army of volunteers - including Travellers Choice's official mascot Trevor - who did everything from loading trucks to manning the BBQ.
Box says the rural families were hugely appreciative of the travel industry's efforts, and the whole process perfectly demonstrated a key theme of Travellers Choice's conference: 'The Power of Connection'.
“By creating 200BALES we were able to forge a connection between local farmers and Mudgee Travel & Cruise, which then connected with the wider Travellers Choice network and ultimately with the broader travel industry to provide real assistance.
“All I can say is thank you so much to everyone who contributed because this charity hasn't just saved livestock; we know that it's saved people's livelihoods and in some cases saved lives."
To date 200BALES has raised almost $500,000 and dispatched more than 60 semi-trailers, with fund-raising activities ranging from lemonade stands and school mufti days to a 'Day in the Dirt' country music festival at the Mudgee Showgrounds.