WESTFIELD, NJ — The paintings are displayed on lawns, porches, at the train station and even in front of the Westfield National Guard Armory.
Resident Joe Mindak — along with his wife, Audrey, and two children ages 12 and 14 — are turning used shipping pallets into works of art, selling them and donating the proceeds to a fund that benefits independently owned Westfield retail businesses impacted by coronavirus. The family takes special requests, Mindak said.
“We’ll do as much as we can,” said Mindak, who on Friday reported that his family’s initiative had raised $1,500 in just several days to support the nonprofit Westfield United Fund’s We Love Local campaign. “We’re not artists. My wife does the intricate stuff.”
Mindak said the idea came to them after they painted a shipping pallet with an American flag last summer and set it out on their front lawn for decoration.
“We’re saying a $50 donation. Some people are giving more,” Mindak said. “We’ll paint them, and we’ll drop them off on your lawn — no contact.”
To get the effort started, Mindak said, several area food establishments donated the shipping pallets. Mindak said he is seeking more pallets as the effort picks up.
Deirdre Gelinne, executive director of the Westfield United Fund, said she herself has one of the Mindak family paintings.
“I ordered one, which he immediately dropped off,” Gelinne said. “It says ‘Westfield Strong,’ and you can see it in front of the WUF office, aka the Northside train station building.” Gelinne said.
The Westfield United Fund and the town kicked off the “We Love Local” campaign with a “porch concert” by Goo Goo Dolls front man and Westfield resident John Rzeznik three weeks ago and as of Friday, the fund had raised about $205,000 from about 700 donors, she said. It has dispersed $170,000 of those monies to about 120 impacted businesses, Gelinne said.
“We are still accepting applications, and all independent retail businesses in Westfield are invited to apply,” she said. “We don't have an exact timetable for the campaign, but we anticipate that it will continue for another few weeks.”
Interested in a Mindak family pallet painting? Reach out to Mindak on Facebook and Venmo the donation to his username, Joe-Mindak. He can be reached by phone at 201-410-8282.
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