Annual $20 tattoo day raises $1,300 for Animal Rescue Foundation
At 3 a.m. on Jan. 16, a lineup began to form outside of Gypsy Rose Tattoos. A group of nine friends took turns warming up in their vehicles while the others held their place. After six hours of braving the cold, everyone exchanged $20 and a few cans of dog or cat food for an appointment card.
After patiently waiting for two more hours, the first tattoos of Gypsy Rose Tattoos' second annual $20 tattoo day began. This year the tattoo shop chose to partner with the Animal Rescue Foundation, commonly known as ARF, after taking charity suggestions from clients. In exchange for a two-inch tattoo, attendees had to pay only $20 and donate two animal-friendly items, all of which went directly to the foundation.
By the end of the day, 62 people were tattooed, $1,300 was raised and two vans were filled to the brim with pet supplies.
"Our mission is to rescue stray and unwanted animals in First Nations communities within rural Alberta," said Amanda Smith, ARF event co-ordinator. "We also want to establish programs that will reduce pet overpopulation as well as encourage responsible pet ownership."
Smith also noted that since the foundation is completely volunteer-based, 100 per cent of the funds raised would go towards helping animals. The majority of proceeds will be used towards the foundation's "Pad for Paws" campaign – a five-year program aiming to build a permanent facility for the rescue foundation to call home.
For the foundation, the facility would mean an end to holding important meetings in coffee shops, as well as providing a medical centre for rescued animals in need.
Ryan Morrissey, who was one of the first people in line at 3 a.m., said he was pleasantly surprised to learn that ARF had been chosen as this year's charity for the event.
"If I can help animals and get a cool tat[too] at the same time, that's a good situation," he said.
Nina Gremo, Gypsy Rose Tattoo owner, said she's happy to volunteer her shop for the day to help out a good cause.
"You get people who come because the price spoke to them and then you get people who came because the event spoke to them," she said.
For Lauren Vassey, it was a combination of both factors that brought her in.
Amid the buzzing of tattoo machines, she said she was excited about the event where the proceeds would be going.
"It's so nice, I love animals," Vassey said. "Actually when I was in elementary school, I raised $400 for ARF with a bake sale."
Monday's event was the second time Gypsy Rose Tattoos have done a $20 tattoo day. Last year, in conjunction with Shaw Cable, they raised almost 2,500 lbs. of food, which went to the food bank, along with the proceeds from nearly 100 tattoos.
Gremo said that she intends to make the event a yearly tradition and help different charities each time.
- By Roxanne Blackwell