KINGSTON — While he refers to his farmer’s market stand as a “business,” T.J. Bandrowski’s profits aren’t for, well, profit.
Bandrowski, 11, has been selling his lighthouse watercolor note cards at the Kingston Farmer’s Market this summer to raise money for a certain foundation that hits close to home.
Through his art, Bandrowski is trying to reach a goal of earning $200 to donate to the Hayden Strum Endowment, which benefits brain tumor research. As of this week, he has raised $135. Donations and 25 percent of his sales from the market go toward the fund. He sent in a contribution of $70 in August and received a personal thank you letter from the Children’s Hospital Foundation, where the endowment is based.
Kingston resident Hayden Strum, who died of a brain tumor when he was six in 1999, was a friend of the Bandrowski family, attending the same church and hanging out with T.J. occasionally.
“My parents encouraged me,” Bandrowski said of how he decided to use his money.
“I knew he had died of a brain tumor and decided to do it. I liked the idea,” he said, noting that Strum’s parents started the endowment to help brain tumor research at Children’s.
“The money goes directly to research, to scientists and doctors doing the research,” said Mary Bandrowski, T.J.’s mother. “There is so little red tape, they get to do what they want to do.”
T.J. originally started selling at the market this summer to raise money for a week-long church camp that he wanted to attend.
“I knew I was good,” he said about his cards, adding that he figured he could make some money to help pay for his camp. He sells packs of eight, with four different designs in each.
Bandrowski said he used to create pencil drawings but added the watercolors when people started suggesting it. He was doing quite well profit-wise by the middle of the summer and that’s when his parents encouraged him to donate to charity.
While he’s still working toward the $200 goal, Bandrowski’s pretty confident he can make it, based on his sales the past few weeks. He sold $140 in letters in a single day several Saturdays ago.