Drivers rev up for vital fundraiser
ROB Stewart's love for the occasional competitive car rally has existed for most of his life.
Mr Stewart has hit the road with a renewed purpose of late, supporting those who are facing the roughest conditions in the southwest through a charity called Givit.
Givit sources struggling families and businesses in Queensland and works to give these groups exactly what they need to get by through community donations.
"It's not about the big things,” Mr Stewart said.
"They find out who needs things and they put them in touch with other people who can help them.
"Apart from raising money and helping people, they can sometimes supply them with goods.”
Mr Stewart and his team drove from Cowra to Caloundra, traversing 5500km in 10 days and raising $6500 for Givit.
The money was raised through community sponsorships and, in some cases, came from right from the drivers' back pockets.
But raising the money is only a small part of the journey.
"For us guys it's going around and seeing the people, meeting the people out west, and seeing these communities,” Mr Stewart said.
"It's to see the people they're actually giving the money to.”
The charity was started by CEO Juliette Wright who, after attempting to donate second-hand baby clothes to someone in need, recognised the specific needs of local charities.
For example, steel-capped boots for men seeking employment and sanitary items for women escaping violent homes.
What stood out about the charity for Mr Stewart was its focus on southwest Queensland and what the people of the region truly needed.
"It's more of a local thing,” he said.
"You can give things to Salvos and they do a good job.
"But, for these guys, they're going out in the bush and they're finding things that probably should be done by the government.”
Seeing the tough images of families struggling to make ends meet and local businesses toughing out devastating conditions was enough to wake up Mr Stewart and ignite a desire to help in any way possible.
"These people are struggling,” he said.
"That's what it's all about - local stuff.
"You want as many people as you can to be looked after.
"It doesn't matter who it is, you want to look after someone who is struggling.
"I just think it's great because it's getting to the people that need it.
"They're not just throwing money at something they think that might work, they're going out and talking to people.”