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Tattoos raise 1000’s of pounds of food after Bancroft event blows up on Tik Tok 

Customers line the street at the Tiny Tattoo Drive. Photo by Mary Milne

It turns out tiny tattoos can raise a lot of food.  

For the past several years The Painted Lady Tattoo Parlour has been hosting regular events, where they offer at-cost (or less) small tattoos with the gift of a food bank donation.

According to Owner Joan Hachey, the event was started in 2020, after lockdown ended, to help the food bank and the many that were in need. At first, they only did the drive twice a year, but found it was hard on the artists and staff, with the popularity of the event meaning it would often last until 2 a.m.

According to Hachey in 2022 ‘The Tiny Tattoo Drive’ exploded on Tik Tok, when it got posted by a few known accounts. The Parlour started bringing in guest artists to help, having up to four or five people tattooing nonstop throughout the 14-hour day. Due to the long hours though, they soon decided to switch to more frequent events to keep everyone from burning out.

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The most recent Tiny Tattoo Drive took place earlier this month.

The morning of the event we spoke with some people at the front of a line that stretched along downtown’s Bridge Street. They said it wasn’t their first time supporting the drive.

“They do this every few months. I’ve waited from beyond the pub before… you get a $30 tattoo and bring food for the food bank”

A few days later we caught up with the Joan Hachey, owner of the Painted Lady, when she was bringing in the dozens of bags of food raised during the drive. She spoke about how things have shifted since it first blew up on social media.

“I think that day we were there till 2 a.m., that’s when we started cutting it back and doing it more often, so the line doesn’t get as big. It’s still 12 to 14 hours, but we stop at around 10 p.m. and then we end up staying there till midnight, finishing up”

We asked Joan’s daughter Anika, who also happens to be the head tattoo artist, if it was a challenge to do so many tattoos in a day,

“I think probably about the 8th hour my arm was pretty sore. I had to take a break to just shake it out. I think my back gets pretty sore too, from just staying hunched over for so long” she said smiling.

Joan and Anika agreed the event is worth it to help in the community,

“We actually lose money because the set up for a tattoo usually costs between $60 and $80 dollars, depending on how many needles, but we take the loss to get the donations of food in. It’s worth it. But we always do it on a Sunday so that they have the next day to recuperate”

Joe Pearson, who’s the new lead at the food bank, says the food is needed now more than ever.

“We’re getting new clients all the time, a lot more families” she said, “90 per cent of people’s incomes are going on rent. Now you have two parent households working, and they’re still having to come to the food bank, and we’re getting more of that. So donations, you know, we’ll get spurts where we have a ton, and we pass on to other food banks and then we’ll get a little bit of a lull”

Pearson went on to say that the donations would be used not just in Bancroft but also to help food banks in Coe Hill and Lake St. Peter as well.

At the weigh-in we spoke with food bank volunteer Karina who said it was her first day. After learning the ropes of weighing the food, she shared with us the grand total:

“Its 365 pounds” she said cheering.    

Those from the Painted Lady Parlour involved in the Tattoo Drive day were artists Anika Hachey and Lexie Wade, as well as guest artist Adam Shortreed.

Running things and “keeping the chaos organized” were the owner Joan Hachey and manager, Mackenzie Lovell.

The artists saw approximately 285 clients throughout the 14-hour day.

The Painted Lady Parlour hosts food drives several times a year, you can check out their social media for more details.

Donations of food and hygiene products can also be dropped off at the North Hastings Community Cupboard. You can find more details on their website or facebook page.

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