Local rugby league players and The Waves Sports Club have banded together to donate almost $8000 to the Tonga Appeal.
The Waves Tigers have put their match fees from their first game towards the appeal to show their support to the community and to coach Antonio Kaufusi, who was born in Tonga.
The appeal was launched last month through a partnership between Bundaberg Regional Council and Shalom College, where Antonio is a teacher.
It kicked off with a $10,000 donation from Council and $2000 from Shalom Markets before other members and organisations jumped on board to boost the fundraising efforts.
Now, the total raised has come to $31,450 with $27,450 already reaching Tonga Apifoou College via international transfer.
Waves Tigers captain Reece Maughan said when the team found out about the Tonga Appeal, they jumped at the chance to help out.
“Our coach has represented Tonga and has family over there and we are all one big family here so I feel like the boys just wanted to give back a little bit, it was the least we could do,” he said.
“Our president came to us with the idea of donating our match fees and it was a straight up yes from everyone, the decision was unanimous.
“We wanted to do anything we could to help the community or schools over there that have been impacted.”
To add to the rugby league players donation, The Waves Sports Club has also put funds towards the Tonga Appeal, along with 90 club shirts.
President of The Waves, Brendan Royale said supporting the Tonga Appeal was an easy decision to make.
“There is a strong Tongan community in Bundaberg and we have a lot of affiliated clubs and teams with good representation of that community,” he said.
“This donation will certainly be instant relief and we also thought it would be a nice gesture to send over some club polos as well.”
Brendan said the donation was part of the The Waves commitment to giving back and showing support wherever possible.
“The Waves tries to contribute around about $1.3 million to the community every year,” he said.
“We are happy the community spends money at The Waves and in return we try to give back to beneficiaries as best we can.”
Antonio grateful for Waves Tonga Appeal support
Antonio Kaufusi said he had been overwhelmed by the support from all involved in the donations so far.
“I was pretty shocked from my players for their donation as well, they were more than happy to help out,” he said.
“I know The Waves do an awesome job in the community and I am really fortunate that they wanted to support this too.
“I can't thank the Bundaberg community enough for their generosity.
“All of the money that has been raised is going to go a long way.”
Antonio said the money raised would go towards a number of recovery efforts and long-term solutions in Tonga.
“It will help to make sure the community has money for food and it will also be used for the clean up of schools while also helping them with a long-term approach of a solar project,” he said.
“With disasters like this and electricity getting cut off, having power through solar will be able to keep the school running.”
How to donate:
Account name: Shalom College
BSB: 034 210
Account Number: 831 772
Reference: TONGA APPEAL
Or by visiting Shalom College or phoning their Finance Officer on (07) 4155 8111.
To find out more head to the website here.