Island Senior: Local Artist’s T-Shirt Sales Support Local Seniors
Island Senior is a regular column on the San Juan Update written by Peggy Sue McRae…
With community lunches on hold due to COVID-19 it may seem like not much is happening these days at the Mullis Center. However, since the lockdown, the number of meals delivered to local seniors by our Meals on Wheels nutrition program has more than doubled and is expected to increase further. Meals are delivered for a donation. Unfortunately, donations have been declining. This is where local hero, artist Jennifer Rigg steps in.
Many islanders know Jenn’s work from the beautifully silk-screened T-Shirts she makes and sells every summer at the San Juan County Fair. We collect them, wear them, and give them as gifts. Jenn has been designing and printing T-shirts since she was 14.
Says Jenn, “I loved whales and there were not too many whale designs I liked at the time, so I made my own. Other folks liked my designs as well and I’ve been fortunate over the years to make a living on this small island selling my art”.
Jenn has designed a shirt to help our seniors through COVID-19. She said “[I wanted] to create a focal point on the “US” instead of the virus. While so many are feeling scared and separated right now, I want to try to create a sense of togetherness to keep everyone hopeful – separate, but together.” This shirt can be purchased online at LOEA separatetogether and is available in four different styles.
Eighty percent of the proceeds go to support our local Meals on Wheels program. The remaining twenty percent is earmarked for essential household goods to be delivered to island seniors in need. You can also support Lopez and Orcas Senior programs by choosing those island specific designs with more communities participating now as well. Check the Mullis Center website for updated information. To date the project has raised over $3,000. Thank you Jenn!
When I asked Jenn what gave her the idea to do something for seniors she told me that she got to know her grandfather better last year when she helped him move into an assisted living home. It proved to be a valuable experience for her.
“It was a privilege and honor to get to know my grandfather more, to help him through that time, and to be rewarded in return with a precious gift… to be reminded that we all should slow down more. Stop being so “busy” all the time. Life moves so fast these days and I feel that our elders don’t have our attention like they once did. They have a lot of perspective to offer, which we all could use, especially in times like these!”