Texas kindy fights on
IN MAKING a "tree change” to Texas, Debbie Bradfield hadn't realised that the kindergarten she worked at also was caught up in the drought.
"We rely on the community for fundraising and the community was struggling,” she said.
"A raffle that used to make $500 was getting $100.”
However, after a story on the kindy was aired on an ABC News drought special, offers of support came flooding in .
A Melbourne post office said they would host a dress-up day in which staff would come in farm gear and make a donation, and the Rural Aid charity offered to pay their electricity and rates bill.
Former Texas residents also got in touch and said they wanted to help.
"We were inundated, it was great,” Ms Bradfield said.
"In one fell swoop, lots of people came forward.
"”We were really blessed with well-wishers.
"Lot's of people have a connection to Texas.
"They were ordinary people, not corporations.”
In addition to falling fundraising, Ms Bradfield said the kindergarten had to cope with a tax problem that only came to light in 2017 but concerns a decision about GST made 10 years ago.
"Now we have to pay the tax office,” she said.
"It's been hindering our financial situation, it's an extra hiccup.”
Ms Bradfield works two days a week at the kindy but she said wages, rates and electricity are "a major issue”.
While many grants are available for community-run organisations like the kindy, "they usually want you to purchase something”.
Soft-fall matting around the play area, which cost $6000, was paid for by a grant from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund but it is more the ongoing costs that are a problem.
"We can usually sustain ourselves but we've slowly struggled,” she said.
"The area is on hard times, people haven't given as much.”
The kinder has also lost numbers as families have moved out of the area due to farmers cutting back on labour.
Ms Bradfield moved to Texas with her husband earlier this year to take up the job. After more than 20 years as a primary teacher, she is happy to be back in a pre-school and working in "play-based” education.
"There is lots of potential and it's a lovely little town,” she said.