Tattoo parlor’s ‘Toys for Tats’ tradition swaps ink for gifts for kids in need

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ANTIOCH, Ill. —  You’d never guess a tattoo parlor would be the source of a town’s Christmas spirit, but in Antioch getting inked has become a holiday tradition. 

“My favorite part about Toys for Tats is it kind of gets me and my family in the spirit of Christmas,” said Good Family Tattoo owner Joel Huff. 

About eight years ago, the idea came to Huff to let folks spin a wheel to get money off for every new toy they brought in. 

So for one day every December, Good Family Tattoo offers hundreds of dollars off tattoos to help get gifts under the tree for the town’s neediest families. 

That first year, Good Family Tattoo collected over $3,000 worth of new toys. Last year that number topped $15,000. Amid soaring job losses, people’s generosity this year has been bigger than ever.

“Every year it just gets yo,u and especially this year because a lot of people are having a hard time,” said Antioch Traveling Closet Founder Lisa Fisher. 

Fisher’s nonprofit will distribute all the gifts between 110 families this Saturday.

“The families are just so grateful to have something under the tree that they can give to their children from them,” Fisher said. 

Of all things, body ink is blessing countless area kids. 

“It’s amazing. That’s the only word. You leave, like, feeling like your heart is gonna burst,” Fisher said.

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