What started as an idea to help farmers in rural New South Wales has become a bustling food pantry in Wauchope designed to help local farmers and those affected by the recent bushfires.
Farmer Joe's Pantry in the Hastings is run by the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie Sunrise and is a place where community members from across the Mid North Coast in need can come to fill their pantry and home with the essentials.
The initial idea is the brainchild of Tamworth resident Sue-Ellen Wilkin who started the Doing It For Our Farmers campaign with the aim to create a pantry to assist farmers in need more than two years ago.
The pantry was, and continues to be highly successful helping more than 20 farming families each week and members from the Port Macquarie Wauchope and Surrounds Doing It For Our Farmers group decided to get a pantry closer to home started.
Pam Foye from the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie Sunrise was asked if her club would facilitate the pantry and the idea has grown from there.
"Our local food drive was initially all to be sent across the ranges to the Tamworth pantry, but it quickly became evident that farmers on this side of the mountain are hurting also," Mrs Foye said.
"Originally our first thoughts were for our farmers in need but with the horrific fires over the last few weeks we have also been assisting members of the community who have also been touched by fires."
Mrs Foye said the pantry has been up and running for only a week but the outpouring of support from the community has been extraordinary.
"We have been so grateful for the amazing community right across the state who have supported in in filling our pantry," she said.
"We have lots of non-perishable food, hygiene products, toiletries, toys, clothes, books, games - really anything that someone or a family in need might need.
"We have had a truck delivery from our friends in Berowra and we have dropped food hampers to farmers across the Hastings, Wingham, Rollands Plains and to Hannam Vale.
"But at this stage we have so much we are willing to welcome people from as far and wide as possible at the pantry and go on home visits where needed."
She said the ongoing drought is a huge problem for the community and now with the devastating bushfires some people have lost everything.
"Rotary have been doing a lot of work helping farmers over the last few years and we know how self-sufficient they are.
"We know what they desperately need is hay but we hope that by being able to stock their shelves a little part of the burden is alleviated.
"I also went to Taree last week with some hampers and I spoke to one woman who just sobbed at how the fires had devastated her home. It really is heartbreaking."
Mrs Foye said in the lead up to Christmas she hopes the pantry can provide some assistance.
"Christmas is not that far away and more lots of people it won't be a time of joy.
"We have so much to give away at the pantry please get in touch with us if you know someone who could use our help.
"We are a safe place people can come and restock their shelves and are open Wednesday and Friday but have been making home visits."
The pantry is open every Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 2pm.To find our more head to the Farmer Joe's Pantry's Facebook page.