By Dawn Cooke
Toys for Tats is something we started at Depot Town Tattoo two years ago. Our first year 100 people showed up and we tattooed as many as we could. That first year we had no idea it would go down like that at all. The second year was twice the turn out and four of us did double the work. This year there are five of us and we are doing something a bit different. Since we couldn’t possibly get to everyone, we are signing up the first 100 people early starting on December 1st and anyone else who wishes to donate a toy will receive a voucher for $20 dollars toward their next tattoo.
We made a cool flash poster ever year with different designs to choose from. This year the designs are awesome. They were taken from various sources and revamped for the occasion. The values of the tattoos are from $50 to $80 dollars, about the size of a baseball or smaller.
We can tattoo 100 people and will have a few spots on reserve if we have time. It’s a lot of work for us; each of us will do 20-25 tattoos in a 10-12 hour period. We literally exhaust ourselves. If you don’t get on the list this time please come back and try next year. Please donate anyway because it means a lot to us all and your generosity never goes unnoticed.
It’s a really fun event and it is for charity. I ask that people keep that in mind. We donate all the toys that we collect to local communities for low-income families, orphanages around the Detroit Metro area, local homeless shelters and soup kitchens, just anywhere we can! Seriously I never realized this thing would be such a big deal to our community but it has become something amazing. It honestly feels really great to see the looks on all those kid’s faces when we pull up with bags of toys for them. They are truly grateful.
One year for Christmas I got a package of underwear under the tree and I can remember how it feels when you’re a kid and you don’t understand what it means to be poor until you wake up on Christmas morning and Santa forgot about you. I guess toys aren’t the most important thing in the grand scheme of things but to a kid on Christmas morning it means everything. Some kids don’t have food, some don’t even have parents or some suffer from abuse. I know we can’t save the world here but at least we can do what we can. If everyone could just do what he or she can once in a while and maybe we would all be a little better off.
Anyone who wants to do Toys for Tats at their shop or maybe a food drive, everyone should if they can. It’s not about us, it’s about thinking about others who are in need. We are so lucky that our local communities support us. We may not be getting rich but we still get to do what we love and so many people are barely scraping by toiling at jobs that barely pay minimum wage.
“Maybe, I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one...”
Please check out what we did last year, I roughly cut a video so that I could share with everyone that came down last year:
Happy Holidays everyone!!!
Related TAM Blog Post:
(Dawn Cooke is a contributing blogger for Tattoo Artist Magazine can be found at Depot Town Tattoo, 33 East Cross St. Ypsilanti, MI 48197 www.dawncooke.net and www.dawncookeart.com) Dawn Cooke is featured in Tattoo Artist Magazine #21: