By Colin MacGillivray
HIDDEN Valley’s Ethan Liddy is a unique teenager.
While his peers might ride their bikes around the neighbourhood for fun, Ethan has a different reason for pedalling.
The 13-year-old rides the length of his street each week putting out bins for seven of his neighbours. In return, they pay him $1, $2, or sometimes even more, all of which he donates to the Buy a Bale campaign supporting rural farmers.
Ethan has been at it for more than two years and in that time has donated more than $2000 for drought-stricken farmers. His ultimate goal is to raise $5700, the cost of a full semi-trailer load of hay.
In the lead-up to Christmas, Ethan received $200 from the Wallan chapter of the Country Women’s Association (CWA), bringing his donation total above the $2000 mark.
Ethan’s mother Jo Liddy said she was extremely proud of her son’s selfless actions.
“We’re very proud of him. He’s a teenager and it would be so easy for him to say ‘this is uncool’ and not do it anymore, but he’s stuck with it for more than two years,” she said.
“What I really love about it is that he’s kept it going. He’s in secondary school now and he kept it going through COVID.
“I’m so proud that he’s thinking about people other than himself. It would have been so easy for him to have kept some of the money for himself, but he keeps none of it.
“He’s always had a really strong sense of community.”
Ethan said he was inspired to begin raising money for farmers after a Hay Mate fundraising concert in 2018, and his parents agreed to match every $100 that he raised.
From humble beginnings, putting out two of his neighbours’ bins, he has expanded, and plans to bring in even more money through a paper run and other activities such as busking.
“I’m hoping to hit the target [of $5700] by 2022 or 2023. If I start doing the paper run I’ll get more money from that,” he said.
“But I don’t want to just stop after getting there – that would be a bit odd just to stop after several years because I’ve gotten to a certain number.
“We’re still in drought and it’s not like it’s all over. We still need to keep donating and helping the farmers.”
Ethan said it was ‘amazing’ to receive the $200 donation from the Wallan CWA and hoped that more community organisations would support his efforts.
He also thanked one of his neighbours for giving him his old bike after Ethan outgrew the one he had been riding.
“He gave me a bike that had been sitting in his garage for four years, so it’s nice to have another bike. It’s more comfortable to ride and go on my bin runs. It’s really nice that he donated that to me for free,” he said.
People interested in contacting the Liddy family to make a donation to Ethan can email Ms Liddy at firstname.lastname@example.org.