LAWN, N.L. — Elaine Tarrant was “dumbfounded” when her name was called to receive the Community Spirit Award, presented by The Direct Sellers Association of Canada, on June 26 at the Delta in St. John’s.
“When I got up to say some words, I could hardly speak,” Tarrant admitted. “I was so overwhelmed.”
Tarrant was nominated for the national award by Avon Canada. She sold the company’s products for a decade and now leads a team of 171 members.
Since 2012 she has been rallying some of her team members to also fundraise for the Grace Sparkes House, a shelter for women to escape domestic abuse, located in Marystown. Together they have raised approximately $15,000. Through sponsored walks and selling featured items, such as lipstick pins, they started an education fund.
A previous resident of the shelter, who is now living independently and would like to return to school, can apply to receive up to $2,000 to put toward the incidental expenses that crop up while completing an education.
“Books and tuition are covered by different agencies, but this is for stuff you don’t think of like she might run out of diapers, she might need transport, she might need to take a taxi, stuff the other funding doesn’t take into consideration,” Tarrant explained.
She believes the grant, which supports a woman after she leaves the shelter, is the only fund of its kind in Canada.
Tarrant, a former resident of Lawn now residing in St. John’s, has a personal motivation to help the women.
“A long time ago a relative of mine was a victim of domestic violence,” Tarrant recalled. “She has since passed away.
“It was too late to help her, but we could help a lot more women, even if it’s just one we help, we’re still making a difference.”
Tarrant says she shares the award with her dedicated partners.
“It was recognition for me and my team,” she said. “The ladies on my team who raise the money don’t know who they are raising it for, these people in the shelter, it’s all anonymous of course. The ladies just do it out of the kindness of their hearts.”
“Our team motto is changing lives, one lipstick at a time,” Tarrant concluded. “And we do. If you can educate people and give them options, they don’t have to stay in the situation they are in… it’s amazing.”