Wollongong couple bring a truckload of gifts

Pat and Geoff Dryland from Wollongong brought a truckload of donated food, toys, clothing and Christmas gifts to be distributed at the Coast to Cobar Farmers Christmas Party at the Services Club on Saturday. Locals Sheena Geppert (left) and Cobar 09Rotarians Gordon and Therese Hill (right) are pictured with the Drylands on Saturday.

Wollongong-based Pat and Geoff Dryland brought a truckload of food, clothing and gifts to Cobar on Saturday to help brighten Christmas for a number of local farmers still doing it tough from the drought.

The couple, who previously owned childcare centres in Wollongong and Sydney, decided to direct their benevolence towards Cobar last year after looking at a number of options of where they could make a donation.

“Everything we looked at, there was too much cream taken off the top and it did not go the people who needed it,” Pat explained.

“So, a friend of ours, who knew Sheena [Geppert], rang her to ask if she could do with some help.”

Last December the couple brought out a heap of groceries to Cobar which Sheena made up into hampers for needy farming families.

“Sheena seemed to know who needed it and who didn’t, and she delivered it,” Pat said.

Pat said they’ve continued to stay in touch with Sheena and found while many properties in the shire have received rain, there are still a lot of people doing it tough.

The Drylands decided to organise another truckload to bring to Cobar again this year.

As word had gotten around among their friends and Geoff’s Masonic Lodge connections about what they were doing for the
farmers out west, many offered to be

As well as donating food, gifts and clothing, Pat said people also gave money totalling $9,000.

“The local Kennards Hire give us the use of the truck for the week and we have a storage mob in Wollongong who gave us a shed for the whole time we need to collect the things and from there it went.”

Pat said this year, to save Sheena doing a lot of work making up hampers, they decided to set all of the donated goods out on display in a “pop up shop style” and the families could pick and choose what they needed.

The donated items included non perishable food, dog food, toys, stationery, books and clothing (including a rack of brand new formal dresses).

“There are still people here doing it tough.

“It’s going to take a long time to recover from the drought, so we thought we come back and give it another go,” Pat said.