For the sixth year in a row, a Red Deer auto body shop owner is using a custom-painted antique fridge to raise money for local charities.
The project started when Trevor Comfort was looking for something to decorate his office.
“I came across some 1950s fridges,” Comfort said, “and I painted them up to make them look like 1950s Coke machines.”
The owner of Comfort Collision, a Red Deer automotive restoration shop, he’s no stranger to breathing new life into antique objects.
The same professional painting techniques used for cars have been used to decorate the fridges, he said.
However, after he was done he had one fridge left over, and had to do something with it.
At the time, the Christmas party his company hosted was getting pretty big, he said, “so we figured we should just raffle the darn thing off.”
Right from the start it was decided that the money raised would be donated, and the Red Deer food bank has been the recipient of the money for the last few years.
The first year, Comfort estimates they made about $500 for the fridge.
However, the bar was raised last year, when Comfort asked friend Dave Heykants, an artist specializing in a type of painting similar to hot rod pinstriping, to get involved.
“After I did the restoration and the body work on the fridge, he went and did some fancy pinstriping,” Comfort said.
“It really took it up a notch.”
The person who won last year’s fridge chose to donate it back, so it was auctioned a second time.
As a result, last year’s fridge raised $2,200.
In a year when some charities are struggling to make ends meet, it pays to be creative, says Fred Scaife, executive director of the Red Deer Food Bank.
“It’s tough to raise money,” he said,
“You get lost in the background noise a lot, but when you do something unique and creative, it works.”
Scaife said Comfort’s custom fridge auction is a great example of what it takes to be heard above the background noise.
“Not only is it a fun fundraiser, it puts much needed cash into our pockets,” Scaife said.
Furthermore, he says, they’re using skills they already have, since they’re using the techniques they’ve honed on cars to make their custom fridges.
“One of the cool things is they incorporated what they do and used it to raise money.”
Comfort agrees that you don’t always have to look far when trying to raise money, and he says his event is an example of that.
“It kinda tells that you don’t have to pull a bunch of money from your pocket to raise a lot of money,” said Comfort.
The custom fridge auction is not currently open to the public, but Comfort says that allowing everyone to buy raffle tickets is something that’s been discussed for future years.