Parents and children joined forces recently to show support for farming families affected by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak, by making treat boxes.
The Gore Playcentre made 14 boxes containing home baking, cheese rolls, tea, coffee, chocolate treats, a book for children and a handmade card.
The cards contained encouraging messages such as “You are stronger than you think”.
The boxes were given to the Southland Rural Support Trust to distribute, parent Kylie Aitken said.
The children and their families spent the week working on gift boxes for farmers whose herds were affected by the cattle disease, Miss Aitken said.
“The parents have done all the baking and the kids painted the boxes and did all the wee cards.”
The project began when one of the playcentre parents suggested it would be nice to give back to the community, which had generously supported the Gore Kids Hub, she said.
It was decided that giving to farmers who had lost stock to Mycoplasma bovis would be most appropriate at this time.
“We wanted the farmers to know that the whole community was behind them and thinking of them,” she said.
Playcentre president Jacqui Jones said the parents really wanted the children to think of others – to have compassion, and to understand what it meant to be part of a community. Even a small gesture could show someone that people care.
When the playcentre contacted Southland Rural Support Trust, they were surprised to hear the disease affected 14 families in Northern and Eastern Southland.
The trust works with rural people and their families following challenging circumstances and was happy to help distribute treats to those affected.
Rural support trustee Russell Falconer said trustees were assigned farmer clients, who they supported and contacted regularly.
Mycoplasma bovis was a “real concern” for the rural sector, and was “still expanding”, he said.
“It is very stressful for those involved.”
Farmers coping with the disease were under emotional pressure, and the care which came with the treat boxes helped to ease the burden and show the community cared, he said.