BILLINGS- Temperatures have dipped already this week in Billings, and a local tattoo shop is taking the opportunity to collect sleeping bags so area homeless can keep warm.
By Monday afternoon, Rise Again Tattoo on Central Avenue already collected over a hundred sleeping bags in its mission to give back to the homeless community in the Magic City.
By 4 p.m. that same day, they dropped the sleeping bags off a local drop-in center to be delivered and dispersed to those who need them.
Alex and Cheri Carmel moved to Montana from California and opened Rise Again Tattoo. That’s when they realized just how cold Montana can get.
So they decided to take action.
“Coming here we realized this is a cold environment, where there are families who are suffering,” said Alex Carmel. “So our goal is to provide warmth to those who have to fight through the winter season as a homeless individual.”
But it’s not the first time the Carmel’s launched a charitable effort to benefit their community.
Just over the weekend, the shop partnered with Billings’ non-profit Dog Tag Buddies which works to partner rescued dogs with veterans who are in need of an emotional support or service dog. Monday Rise Again was able to donate $1,000 to the organization as a part of a Veteran’s Day charity drive.
“We just want to be a part of the solution,” said Alex.
The Carmel family believes resources for the community can come directly from its community members.
“I’ve seen children on the streets,” Alex said. “We use what we have to go out and bless those who are less fortunate. That way we can try and keep people warm.”
The shop will continue to collect sleeping bags in brand-new condition for the next 30 days.
In return, Rise Again will give a $50 gift certificate redeemable at the tattoo shop for those who bring in a new and unused sleeping bag.
“We moved to Montana, just fell in love with Montana and we just want to be contributors to the community in a positive manner. We want to push love, no more hatred and try to make a difference in the world.”
Rise Again also asks that sleeping bags brought in for the donation drive also be able to withstand sub-zero temperatures.
Reporting by Andrea Lutz for MTN News