Mount Gambier teenager Zoe Simpson loves to help people, particularly those who are doing it tough. So it comes as no surprise that she’s the driving force behind the Mount Gambier Hay Run, which is about to undertake its sixth charity run.
Zoe, 18, this weekend will again lead more than 20 trucks loaded with hay headed to the Lucindale area. A convoy will leave Mount Gambier at 7am on Saturday to take donated hay to fire-affected farmers – the second run in a matter of weeks – and deliver the fodder on farm in a bid to connect directly with the farming community.
The truckies – who all donate their time to the run – will then meet with SA Governor Hieu Van Le as he tours the region to see firsthand the damage caused by the January fires in the area. Just over a year ago Ms Simpson reached out to well-known charity organiser Adam Smith, after seeing a similar run being staged interstate by another young woman.
“I thought it was a wonderful idea and something that we could replicate over here,” she said. “I told my dad and he said ‘anything is possible’, so we contacted Adam and together we worked to make it happen. “Adam just took it to a whole other level, his support has been amazing.”
Ms Simpson said she was humbled by the amount of support the runs had attracted, with so many people donating hay and truck drivers giving up their weekends to deliver it to farmers. “It is very emotional, particularly a few weeks ago when we drove into Lucindale with so many people lining the roads with signs saying thank you,” she said.
“That makes everything even more worthwhile. “It is such a joy to be able to help people who are facing hardships in their lives. “Sometimes it’s hard to believe there are so many people who are so willing to help.”
Mr Smith said he was inspired by Ms Simpson’s desire to help the community and he was determined to help her achieve her goal. “This was Zoe’s dream, she just wanted to help and I was proud that she asked me to get involved,” he said.
“It grew from there, we went on the Burrumbuttock Hay Run, then we did two runs to Keilira after the fire there, another to Cape Jervis to help after the Kangaroo Island fires and now we are about to do our second run to Lucindale.
“This is all about keeping Zoe’s dream alive, we are all working together to make that happen. “This includes companies like NF McDonnell and Merrett Logging who have just kept giving all the way through. “Watching the videos that my daughter Jaimee captured on our last run, it just shows how special it all really was.”