Written by Kerrie Alexander
It’s been said many times, at many events, that the people who take part in the Dunga Derby are just one big unconventional family who all donate their time, money and effort to a common cause.
Evan Geale from HBW Food Service couldn’t agree more.
In fact, it’s one of the biggest reasons why the family-run business put their hand up to be a Major Sponsor of the annual car rally in 2022 with a $20,000 donation.
In only their second year of taking part in the rally, Evan’s team – The Chiller @ HBW – were also named the highest fundraisers of the year after taking their tally to an incredible $53,800.
Funds raised by the Dunga Derby go to local charity Rally for a Cause, which supports Fraser Coast families and individuals affected by life-limiting medical conditions or have had their lives disrupted by circumstances beyond their control.
Rally for a Cause was started on the Fraser Coast in 2015 and since then the Dunga Derby event has raised over $2.3 million and has supported 181 local Fraser Coast families.
Evan said when you experience the camaraderie and see first-hand the vital work the dunga teams and RFAC is doing in the community, you can’t help but want to get involved.
“We (HBW) have always been involved in the community and dunga teams would come to us and look to us for sponsorship and we were always glad to do that,” Evan said.
“But two years ago, we wanted to step it up a notch and get more involved, so we went on the dunga and had a fantastic time.
“We stepped up to be the major sponsor and haven’t looked back.
“We have a lot of support behind us, a lot of suppliers we can call on and they love seeing what we can do for the community.
“I would like to thank everyone for their support; our workers, our sponsors and the community.
“Thank you everyone for the support. It’s good to be able to give back.”
What got the team behind the wheel of their Nissan Elgrand, designed to look like a delivery vehicle, was the fact that the charity was all about Hervey Bay, Evan said.
“Rally for a Cause have done such a wonderful job to make it about the Bay and we just wanted to be a part of that.
“It’s such a big community event. It’s for everyone. In our industry we know the people, we know the chefs, people in health services etc in the industry we deal with.
“Then, going along to the dunga you see that there are so many of those people involved in the event and in the whole community.
“It opens your eyes up to so many more people and friendships. It’s so much bigger than just us.”
The first dunga awards night the team attended in 2021 really brought home just how vital their fundraising efforts are for locals in need.
Videos and clips of the recipient families were played and parents of often critically ill children took to the lectern to share how the financial support changed their lives.
At these nights, there’s generally not a dry eye in the house.
“It was pretty emotional. They have some families come up on stage and speak and that was very special.
“It’s such a big thing. Rally for a Cause help so many people.”
Giving is in the family’s blood with Evan’s parents Frank and Lerie Geale starting the tradition when they opened the business 42 years ago.
“We just wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my parents. It’s also the team; it’s just a good family business that everyone plays a big part in.
“You need many great people to make a business like this happen. The support of the community also allows us to give back as well.”
HBW has also been long-time supporter of the community through donations to other local individuals, sporting groups and not-for-profit charities.
One of those groups is Trish and Josie for the Homeless who host a breakfast twice a week at the back of the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre to fill the stomachs of those who may not otherwise have the means to buy food.
“We have had a lot to do with Trish and Josie over the years and they are absolutely amazing!
“We try to help them out wherever we can.”
The Chiller @ HBW team will be back and hopefully better on next year’s four-day dunga adventure with a fine for a breakdown now recorded on their dunga history.
“We’ve pushed the boundaries on the Elgrand… it’s not the greatest car to take on the dunga,” Evan said with a laugh.
“This year we were driving along, turned a corner and the steering wheel turned on its side and I thought to myself, this doesn’t feel right.
“So, we pulled up to have a look and the back wheel was just hanging on by a thread.
“But the Greased Monkey mechanics took the car away, gave us a spare to drive, fixed it all up and off we went the next day.
“We’ll have to do more work on it for next year.”
Evan encourages everyone to get on board and experience the fun, frivolity, mud and dust of the dunga at least once.
“My biggest saying is if you’re thinking about it, just do it!
“Give it a go. It’s all worth it. You will have a lot of fun, meet a lot of new friends and what you get out of it in the long run just gives back to yourself.”
To find out more about Rally for a Cause or the Dunga Derby car rally visit rallyforacause.org.au.
Alive Magazine is proud to be a media partner and we look forward to highlighting all the dunga action and recipient stories again in 2023.