Ringwood Hotel owners Jay Pigott and Rachel Cornelius are on a mission to raise $15,000 to help drought-affected farmers.
To get to their total, the Cressy couple are donating $10 from every $25 parmi sold at the hotel to Rural Aid’s Parma for a Farmer Buy a Bale campaign and CowBiz’s hay bale runs.
They are also donating the full amount of all Iron Jack beer on tap they sell for the month until September 19.
Ringwood Hotel’s fundraising efforts hit $1000 in the first week and have continued to build, Ms Cornelius said.
“We have partnered with Iron Jack and they have given us two kegs, so all the money from Iron Jack tap sales goes towards this until they’re finished,” she said.
Chef James Nichol has been changing up his kitchen to cope with extra demand for the “very, very delicious” parmies.
Mr Nichol said his parmies were created in the traditional way with an Aussie twist: freshly crumbed chicken, napoletana sauce, Scottsdale ham and pizza cheese, which is a blend of mozarella and cheddar.
“We’ve been doing about 35 to 40 covers per night and parmies make up about 30 to 50 per cent of that,” Mr Nichol said.
“If you look after the community, they look after you,” he said.
Mr Pigott grew up in a farming community in NSW, so hearing the plight of mainland farmers in drought-stricken regions spurred the couple into action.
“We are part of a big farming community and through that connection it is important to support the farmers, especially as they have been going through it for a long time,” Ms Cornelius said.
“We thought ‘we’ve got to do this’. Jay is from NSW. I met him there and that’s where we started,” she said.
The couple’s fundraising efforts come less than two months after fire gutted one of their accommodation units.
“We lost one building and that will be demolished this week,” Ms Cornelius said.
The unit housed 10 people and was popular with berry pickers needing accommodation over the busy summer picking season.
“We are rebuilding it for next season. We hope to have it ready by February, but we’ve still got room for lots of people,” she said.
An event, like a quiz night or auction, will also be held in October or November to bump up the fundraising efforts.
“We want to raise $15,000 altogether. We thought ‘let’s aim high and we’ll get there’,” Ms Cornelius said.
Patrons can also donate money to the collection box on Ringwood’s bar.