When Amber Burr from Daddy’s Homemade in Evergreen had an idea to brighten the spirits of those who lost their homes to the Marshall Fire, little did she know her idea would span multiple communities and become bigger than she knew it could.
Burr originally wanted to collect artwork made by kids to give to a Louisville business to distribute with the care packages they were putting together for those displaced by the fire. Her idea was to have art “from kiddos to kiddos.”
Living in Evergreen, Burr knows the realities of what a fire can do.
“It was heartbreaking,” she said. “We’ve been evacuated ourselves several times over the past few years. We’ve been there. We have three young kids. I couldn’t help thinking, that could’ve been us. There were just no words watching and seeing the pictures.”
Seeing what Arvada had done in support of the fire survivors, Burr connected with City Council member Lauren Simpson to ask for help in gathering kids’ art.
On the way to dropping her daughter at preschool the day she spoke with Burr, Simpson talked to the teacher, and by the end of the day had a pile of art. She went on to collaborate with Peck Elementary and Foster Elementary in Arvada to get kids art from 1st-3rd grade.
“What I really like are some of the pieces from some of the older children….some of the older kids wrote messages. One that really touched my heart said `after the rain comes the rainbow,’” Simpson said.
Simpson thought that the art coming from kids was important to the healing of other children. She said gifts coming from your own peers and age group are special.
“We as adults are able to process events like this….but we have the mental and emotional tools to grapple with events like this. Kids often don’t, especially the younger ones,” Simpson said.
Burr teamed up with Pitter Patter, a children’s boutique in Louisville, to bring the art to their business. Pitter Patter has dubbed the project, “Art from the Heart.”
Liz Connor, owner of Pitter Patter, has a community closet event happening for those displaced by the fire where they can shop with no price tags. Her event is kid friendly and private for families affected by the fire.
Owning a children’s store, Connor sees the value in involving children in the healing process.
“It’s a way to guide our children in the healing process for other children,” she said. “Knowing that someone cares about you is a huge message for our children to hear.”
The women hope that distributing the works of art made by kids brightens the days of kids learning to live with their new normal. Connor and her team have been working hard behind the scenes to make their community shopping event happen, but ultimately they just want to help however they can.
“If we can make it easier to parent during this crisis, we are so happy to do that,” she said.
As for Burr, she plans to continue to collect artwork from kids and distribute it to more businesses that could use it.