A difficult decision has lead to a heartwarming opportunity for the Inverell Toughen Up Challenge committee.
Due to worsening drought conditions, and the amount of water needed for the challenge, it was decided to postpone the annual event for 12 months.
With $10,000 set aside for the 2020 Inverell Toughen Up Challenge, the committee decided to divide and donate the funds to three local groups.
Inverell Toughen Up Challenge's Brett Pischke said charities providing drought and bushfire assistance locally was top priority.
After some research the committee agreed to support the Inverell Lions Club Drought Appeal as well as Gum Flat and Inverell's Rural Fire Service (RFS).
"Having to provide a rural land rates notice to receive support from the Lions Club drought appeal means everything in their pop-up shop is going towards and benefiting local farmers and graziers.
"We decided, with the RFS, to go directly to Inverell and Gum Flat because both brigades have helped with the Toughen Up Challenge in the past," he said.
The donation will assist both brigades to purchase items not provided by NSW RFS such as eskies to store cold drinks and a leaf blower.
Meanwhile, Inverell Lions Club will use their funds to purchase necessities and a more diverse range of stock for their pop-up shop in Ring Street.
Mr Pischke said the committee agonised over the decision to postpone the 2020 event knowing it was such a tough call to make.
"From one point of view it is sad we can't run the event this year but from another point we're been able to use this funding, primarily raised by Inverell locals, to assist these Inverell charities," he said.
The committee's core team of seven members are hoping the 12 months off will revitalise, not only themselves, but also the challenge.
"We're made preliminary bookings for March 2021 so watch this space. We will be back bigger and better than ever."
Mr Pischke thanked their volunteers, sponsors and competitions for their kind words and understanding around the decision.
"The amount of water we put on grass to make mud for the challenge is something we couldn't justify when farmers less than five kilometres from town are having to buy and cart water for their properties."
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