RIPON — One Ripon business woman had cause to join in the sponsorship of the “News 10 Coats for Kids Drive” Tuesday in the Ace Hardware Shopping Center, along with The Salvation Army, Swanson’s Cleaners and with her own Baskin Robbins ice cream shop, and Ripon’s Kid Red Entertainment.
Lori Faires remembers well when her sister and teacher Teri Soares and her husband David were burned out of their home in the community of Dobbins near Marysville some 12 to 15 years ago that left her family in dire straits. The Salvation Army was there to help with no questions asked. Now those coats will be going to that organization for distribution after they are run through Swanson’s Cleaners.
Much of Faires’ character that came in her formative years she sees as a result of a sixth-grade teacher that probably set something of a foundation to the giving person she has become in today’s world. The ice cream shop owner remembers growing up in Oakland where she had “Father Joe” as her favorite teacher. She said he gave her the self-confidence and self-image she needed to succeed in life.
Growing up into her pre-teen years, she had serious buck teeth and had to wear a helmet with wire braces extending around her mouth, she recalls. The kids teased her and even though she said she held her ground pretty well, it was a constant embarrassment.
“Father Joe told me to just walk away and wow them with my talent,” she said.
He showed her how to play basketball – shooting baskets with her and introducing her to softball – always out there playing with everyone himself, she said.
“I played basketball better than the boys and I hit better than the boys,” she said going on to play on a traveling team with her mom and her sister.
“Vida Blue was coaching our softball team at one point,” she added, noting that she has run into him in the Bay Area on a couple of occasions.
It was that Catholic priest in her sixth grade who gave her the spring board to make a difference in her life and making a difference for others knowing she couldn’t give up.
Faires and her husband Steve are owners of two Baskin-Robbins shops with one in Ripon and the other in Patterson. The Patterson store opened in 2003 and Ripon in 2008 after selling their ACE Hardware in Patterson. They haven’t forgotten the lesson they once learned with the devastating fire. They both stand ready to help when the need arises and, even when not asked, they go the extra mile in supporting Ripon schools and supporting their Rotary Club’s projects and assisting with the American Legion’s crab feeds.
The couple donates 250 desserts for the annual crab feed in Ripon that is to be held in the Ripon Community Center on Jan. 14. They also continually make dessert contributions to the elementary schools in the area from Colony Oak to Weston.
On Feb. 18, they have another crab feed planned in Patterson. It’s their 12th annual event and they expect to once again have a sellout crowd of 450 guests.
As far as becoming part of the Coats for Kids team and representing News 10, she lauded Kid Red Entertainment owner Jeremiah North for supplying the canopy for the drive Tuesday and linking the event with News 10. It was all part of making things happen in their community, she said.
Even though the signs and canopies were taken down Tuesday night, there will still be “Coats for Kids” collection sites at the ice cream shop and the Ripon Chamber of Commerce office for weeks to come.
Both Lori and Steve Faires are faithful Rotary Club members with Steve having received his Paul Harris Fellow designation.