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Hinshaw T-shirts a lasting reminder of health care leader

Fundraising T-shirts benefited food banks, including in Red Deer
Money raised through the purchase of T-shirts featuring Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw went to support food banks in Alberta in 2020. (Contributed)

Premier Danielle Smith may be eager to dump Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, but the image of the bespeckled, health-care leader with bangs will linger on T-shirts.

Smith has blamed Alberta Health Services for botching the pandemic response and has promised to fire its governing board. On Tuesday she said that AHS, Alberta Health Management, and CMOH Dr. Deena Hinshaw will be replaced.

But T-shirts featuring a sketch of Hinshaw were sold at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and raised more than $20,000 for 10 Alberta food banks. Each received $2,025, including the food bank in Red Deer.

A couple of Calgarians launched the online T-shirt campaign, with the help of Red Deer’s 72 Clothing Company (renamed Drumbeat Apparel), and sold about 1,500 to 2,000 shirts in four days. Production was halted after U.S. knock-off sites started selling them for profit.

Darcy Notland, founder of Drumbeat Apparel, said the start of the pandemic was perfect timing from a business point of view for Hinshaw’s image to raise money for charity.

“She was so poised and so straight forward and calm and collected. It was just a recipe for success,” Notland said.

“It was a fun project.”

He said his company got the job after the business organizers were going to hire was closed because the Calgary mall where it was located was shut down due to the pandemic.


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Mitch Thomson, Red Deer Food Bank executive director, said a $2,000 donation would pay for milk for about 1,000 people for half a month.

He said more grants were available at the start of the pandemic. Donations that weren’t used immediately would have helped stretch reserves which have now been used up to serve the increasing demand at the food bank.

“Last year fundraising was down about $100,000 over the year prior. We’re getting into that space now when we’re hoping people are thinking about us,” said Thomson about Christmas donations.


Red Deer Food Bank getting support from Dr. Deena Hinshaw T-shirt sales

— with files from The Canadian Press

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Susan Zielinski

About the Author: Susan Zielinski

Susan has been with the Red Deer Advocate since 2001. Her reporting has focused on education, social and health issues.
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