Lifestyle

Transform a bowl, transform a life: Summer fundraiser aids Whidbey Island food bank

Annie Campbell, 9, asks Susan Barrat, owner of Paint Escape, a question during a  summer art class. Owner Tina Beard walks around the class while Ellie Thomson, 9, works on her project. - Celeste Erickson / The Record
Annie Campbell, 9, asks Susan Barrat, owner of Paint Escape, a question during a summer art class. Owner Tina Beard walks around the class while Ellie Thomson, 9, works on her project.
— image credit: Celeste Erickson / The Record

Giving back is important for Tina Beard and Susan Barrat, owners of Paint Escape in Freeland.

They have put contributing right into their business model with their annual summer fundraiser for Good Cheer Food Bank. The business is donating $5 from every painted ice cream bowls to the food bank.

Beard said she wanted to support a fundraiser that reaches a lot of community members because she knows the community supports her business.

“I think having a hot meal is an essential part of life. You can do without a lot of things, but not without food. When someone needs a hand, that’s what people need,” Beard said.

Last year the business raised more than $800, this year they hope to raise at least $500. Every dollar donated to the food bank purchases $9 worth of food. The food bank serves 880 families per month. The fundraiser will run through Labor Day weekend.

“The food bank supports a lot of families, and there is a great need,” Beard said. Everyone needs food, and they’ve shown themselves as a responsible charity.”

Shawn Nowlin, community outreach coordinator for Good Cheer, said this fundraiser helps with the rising need for food, especially during the summer when children are out of school.

“We love it when businesses work with us because we both win,” she said. “People believe in Good Cheer and they believe in Paint Escape, and [these partnerships] help to feed, clothe and house people. That’s one of the things we strive for.”

Nowlin said she enjoys working with Paint Escape owners Beard and Barrat.

“I appreciate the fact that they think of Good Cheer every year. It’s one of those things we feel fortunate for. They are so supportive, especially with kids. They are willing to step in and help,” she said.

The ice cream bowl costs $14 to paint with $5 going to Good Cheer. The studio offers six different styles of ice cream bowls for the fundraiser. Artists of all skill levels are welcome to paint; instruction is also available. Most items at the studio range from $12 to $20. A painting session can take about two hours depending on the artist and customers can pick up their items five days later.

Barrat had visited Paint Escape for many years before signing on to become Beard’s business partner three years ago. She previously worked as a teacher and saw the impacts of children not having enough food.

“Children don’t always have hot food to come home to,” she said. “Food is a sense of security, to know that there’s food to come home to for kids and parents.”

“It’s not just us giving back, it’s the community helping us and enabling us to give back,” Barrat said.

 

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