Farmers’ charity helps Hospice

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Farm Source Winton store manager Jenny Holms (left) and Winton Hospice Shop manager Maree Ronald.

VIRTUAL calves are proving popular as part of the Calves for Hospice fundraiser.

Winton Hospice Shop manager Maree Ronald said 18 virtual calves had been donated last year, up from 14 the year before.

It was thanks to generous farmers throughout Southland that more than $150,000 had been raised through the fundraiser during the past three years to help Hospice continue its work in the community, Mrs Ronald said.

“On average, about $50-55,000 has been raised annually. That is the difference of having a full-time palliative care nurse,” she said.

As well as virtual calves, about 110-120 live calves were also donated annually.

Farmers were asked to donate a calf or two, which would be identified with a Hospice ear tag.

They were asked to commit to rearing the calf which would be weaned before being collected in late November or early December.

Preference was for a beef-cross or straight-friesian calf, because they grew out better and produced a heavier calf, Mrs Ronald said.

An initiative from Farm Source Winton manager Jenny Holms, she wanted to do something to support Hospice after a family friend she had grown up with used Hospice services.

“I wanted it to be a community project to give back to this amazing organisation, and approached Maree at the Winton Hospice Shop.”

Calf-rearing schemes were popular in a variety of organisations and schools, which had inspired Ms Holms to use the idea for Hospice.

Hospice Southland needed more than $2.5 million to be raised annually to enable it to offer the best (free of charge) palliative care it could to people in the community who needed it.

Hospice had cared for Southland and Wakatipu Basin residents for more than 28 years and one in three Southlanders who died annually, were cared for by Hospice.

“All the money raised stayed in Southland and the Wakatipu Basin,” Ms Holms said.

The project was the combination of a lot of work and took months to organise, including farmers rearing the calves before being sold.

We also want to give “a huge shout out to the trucking companies who also support us by transporting calves for free”, Mrs Ronald said.

“One company gave $1200 worth.”

Another supporter was auctioneer Murray Mitchell, of Peter Walsh and Associates, who offered his services every year and also organised the transport and sorting of the calves, she said.

“It took a huge amount of time to sort the calves into stock lines, ages, breeds and sizes,” before they were auctioned.

Although all the calf donations were appreciated, Mrs Ronald said they were hoping the virtual side would grow, mainly because it meant less work and cost.

Instead of weaning a calf, people could support Hospice by donating the equivalent of the average sale price of a calf.

  • For more information, go to www.calvesforhospice.org.nz or visit Jenny Holms at Farm Source Winton or Maree Ronald at Winton Hospice Shop.
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