The Drawing Board, Montpelier’s local Art Supply and Framing Store, recently donated $1000 worth of art supplies to Green Mountain United Way. Items included markers, paints, sketch pads, origami kits, drawing pencils, and coloring books and will be distributed through Tatum’s Totes coordinated by Green Mountain United Way in the Barre, St. Johnsbury, and Newport Department for Children and Families districts. This generous donation is part of The Drawing Board’s commitment to give back to the local community.
Tatum’s Totes is a program that provides backpacks to children transitioning into foster care. Tatum’s Totes was founded by Liz and Alex Grimes when they began fostering children after their son Tatum died of SIDS at 5 months old. They found an independent organization to honor Tatum’s memory and to serve children in their home and of Rutland County after they realized that many foster children enter their new homes with little more than a plastic shopping bag with a few personal items. Green Mountain United Way brought Tatum’s Totes to all DCF districts in their service region in 2016 and 2017. Children entering foster care are given a backpack of their own filled with age-appropriate caring items including blankets, books, toys, toothbrushes and other hygiene items, games, a water bottle, school supplies, and art supplies.
“Growing up, art was something that helped me discover who I was. I imagine that these children, like many of us, need an outlet for creativity and a positive way to express themselves. If we can help give these children an opportunity to have a creative break, to enjoy making their own art, or coloring a picture to help relieve the stress they are experiencing, I’m so happy to be a small part of that positive experience for these kids,” said Drawing Board owner Liz Walsh.
“This generous gift is an incredible example of how our local business community is integral to making our communities better places to live and work.” says Carrie Stahler, Director of Community Engagement at Green Mountain United Way. “This donation will directly support children who are experiencing the trauma of changing homes, and is a huge support to the families who have opened their homes and lives to support these children in our community. The support of local businesses like The Drawing Board helps to make this program possible. Together we can show children transitioning into foster that their community loves, supports, and values them.”
In the past 12 months, Green Mountain United Way has supplied over 75 bags to children entering foster care. For a complete list of items to support Tatum’s Totes, go to www.gmunitedway.org/tatumstotes.
About Green Mountain United Way: Green Mountain United Way is a Vermont not-for-profit organization in operation since 1976. They work to improve the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community in Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Orleans and Washington Counties by mobilizing the caring power of communities around our region to advance the common good. No other single organization has the scope and influence to bring together human service agencies, government, businesses, private foundations and dedicated volunteers around a common vision of creating maximum impact and achieving long-lasting results.
About Tatum’s Totes: Tatum’s Totes is an independent nonprofit organization founded by Liz and Alex Grimes of Rutland, Vermont and named after their son Tatum who died of SIDS in 2013. They found comfort in honoring Tatum’s memory in many ways, and one of these was through becoming foster parents. They founded Tatum’s Totes after realizing that children having comforting items of their own can help ease the transition into a new home. Tatum’s Totes now serves all DCF regions in Vermont.