Boxes of kindness for farmers in need

Published 4:13pm 3 June 2022

Boxes of kindness for farmers in need
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Having grown up in a small rural town, Felicity Abell knows how hard it can be for farmers and those who live on outback stations to get access to everyday necessities.

With many people living hours away from the nearest major town or city, ducking to the shops to pick up groceries, household items and little treats is no easy feat.

Although she moved to Brisbane when she was a young girl, the rural lifestyle left an imprint on her, and made her more determined to give something back to those who live off the land and work in extreme conditions like drought, heat, rain and floods.

Felicity makes Bush Bundles, which are shoeboxes made up of items she knows a farmer might not ever purchase for themselves.

“My dad told me that farmers tend to put their money back into their farms, so they don’t ever spend money on themselves,” Felicity said.

“Living out there, it’s a whole different way of life. It’s not like here in the city where we can go to the shops any time we want and buy whatever we want.

“For those farmers, they don’t have the luxury of visiting their nearest town or city a lot. Some of them might only go in every few weeks and only buy what they need, never once treating themselves to anything.

“That when I started thinking about the Bush Bundles. I thought there was a real gap in what farmers wanted to buy, over what they absolutely needed to buy.

“I wondered how I could get these cool things we can get in the city quite easily and cheaply out to the farmers.

“I started doing some research and straight away I knew I was onto something.

“I am a member of a Facebook group where you can reach Australian farmers, and I asked them “when was the last time you bought something you wanted rather than you needed”, and an overwhelming number of people said they couldn’t remember a time.

“One lady said she wanted to buy a block of chocolate when she went into town once a month for groceries, but she just couldn’t do it.

“Another said they might buy a coffee once every six months. Imagine that, one coffee every six months. It’s not like in the city when some people get a coffee every single day.

“With that in mind, I knew I could provide them with some little treats, as well as items they actually need and would use, because these farmers work so hard and they don’t stop to look after themselves.”

Bush Bundles was then formed in 2020.

Boxes of kindness for farmers in need

What’s in a Bush Bundle? 

Felicity, along with some other kind-hearted residents and businesses, put together small items that fit inside a shoebox and then either drops them off at random rural properties, sends them to people who are in need, or organises bulk drops to regions that might have just experienced a natural disaster.

In the showboxes Felicity places items such as handtowels, lip and hand care products, soaps, shower scrubs, shower gels, unopened samples such as perfumes, moisturisers and hair products, roll on deodorants, herbal tea or tea bags, coffee, lollies, licorice, socks, boot covers and handkerchiefs.

Felicity also likes to include some treats, such as blank cards that they can give to friends, puzzle books, notebooks, stationary, mindful colouring books, pencils and card games, like Uno or trivia.

“If I know there are kids at the farm, I also like to put in special items like little toys, rings, hairclips, scrunchies and sometimes maybe some chocolates, but that is in winter only, so it doesn’t melt in the heat,” she said.

“I had one parent tell me once that when their little girls received their bush bundle and it had some scrunchies and things like that, their eyes just lit up and they felt like it was Christmas, which is just really special to hear.”

Boxes of kindness for farmers in need

On the road

Felicity spends a lot of her time on the road delivering Bush Bundles to people out in rural communities.

Felicity said she has travelled more than 14,000km to deliver Bush Bundles across New South Wales and Queensland.

Since 2020, she has delivered more than 100 Bush Bundles, equaling more than $4000 worth of goods.

She has also done bulk deliveries to places like Theodore Rural Hospital via the Lions Club, Kempsey flood victims via the Country Women’s Association and Winton drought sufferers via the Rainbow Beach Drought Runners.

Boxes of kindness for farmers in need

Recognised for her efforts

Going above and beyond to help those living in rural communities has not gone unnoticed, with Felicity being nominated for a number of awards.

Felicity was nominated for the Moreton Bay Australia Day Awards in 2022 for contribution to the community, as well as nominated as a “Woman to Watch in 2022 by Women Beyond 40 magazine.

In 2021 she received a bronze award for the Hustle and Heart Category for the ROAR Success Awards.

How you can help

Felicity has a number of generous neighbours, friends and business owners who kindly help her out, but often receives requests from people in the community also asking how they can help.

If you would like to donate items to help Felicity to fill her Bush Bundles, donations can be collected within the Moreton Bay Region, or posted to:

PO Box 411

Burpengary,

Queensland, 4505

Follow Felicity online

If you would like to know more about Felicity and her Bush Bundles, you can follow her on both Facebook and Instagram, or log onto her website.

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