FREEPORT — As she struggles to keep her own small business afloat, Tamie Bardell of Lena is hoping to get people from Freeport and surrounding towns to join her in helping other small businesses with a fundraiser by selling T-shirts with business logos.

Bardell owns Head2Toe Custom Apparel & Design. She designs and prints T-shirts for a living. She acknowledges that sales have taken a hit because of the COVID-19 shutdown, but this is not stopping her from joining forces to raise money for others like her in hopes of helping the workers affected by the closure of nonessential businesses.

Already, 22 small businesses from Stephenson and Jo Daviess counties have sent Bardell their logos. Bardell plans to make and sell the T-shirts for $20, with $10 from each sale sold given to the businesses.

“I got the idea from how other small businesses are joining forces during this difficult time,” said Bardell, who operates her business out of her home. “I reached out to various businesses through my Facebook page, and we are just getting started.

“The businesses want and need the help. My goal is to at least lessen the burden to help pay employees and help these businesses pay their bills.”

Bardell began working on the idea a week ago, and she said the response she is getting has been positive.

The T-shirts can be viewed and purchased online at head2toedesign.com. Click "fundraisers" to see the T-shirts available for purchase.

Katie Stager, owner of Route 20, Route 75 and the Pretzel City Pub, said she welcomes help paying her employees during the shutdown. She provided the logos of all three businesses to Bardell.

“Kudos to Tamie for thinking of the rest of us, even though she is affected, too,” Stager said. “When I first heard about the fundraiser I thought of my employees who are hurting. Anything will help at this point.”

Bardell said she has printed a few shirts and hopes to raise as much money as she can.

“This is a way to think about others than myself and give something back, and I hope others will do the same,” Bardell said. “Customers of each business can stabilize their relationship with their local favorite business. This fosters community and business relationships.”

Jane Lethlean is a freelance correspondent. Email: jlethlean1210@gmail.com; @DOGWMN2