Coastal Glass Raises Funds for Veterans with Fairy House Raffle

Ecstatic to be the recipient of a fairy house by Bonnie Stewart (right) is Linda Rundin (left). Proceeds from the raffle, which was coordinated by the Stewart family of Coastal Glass, went to the Calais American Legion. (Photo by Lura Jackson)

By Lura Jackson

Many small businesses in rural Maine are comprised of families, with parents and their children taking various positions to help keep the business efficient and afloat. Such is the case at Coastal Glass, where the Stewart family works together to operate the day-to-day business of the store. Mother Bonnie has lent her creative expertise to the business repeatedly – and when the opportunity came along to contribute her art to promote the business and support an important local cause, she took it without hesitation.

Among Bonnie’s many artistic talents is the focus and ability to create one-of-a-kind fairy houses. The miniature houses are made only with items found in nature, Bonnie explains. She collects them as she walks through the local woods and along the coastal shores in quiet observation. “It’s a way to celebrate the things we walk by every single day,” she said.

After collecting everything from heart-shaped rocks (“It’s all about the love,” Bonnie shares) to shells, driftwood, pinecones, and more, she begins to assemble her findings into a house. They come together bit by bit, forming unique homes every time in an enjoyable process of unfolding. “It’s like putting together puzzle pieces no one has ever built,” Bonnie said.

Supporting veterans

Bonnie’s son, Daniel, partnered up with Dad Todd to open Coastal Glass in its new location on North Street in 2017. He was motivated to do so after completing two tours in the Air Force and realizing that continuing his family’s established tradition of glasswork was a viable path. 

After opening the new location, Daniel and his family knew they wanted to support local veterans. They chose the Calais American Legion, headed by Commander Mike McLean. “We wanted to support Mike because ever since I’ve been back to the area, I’ve seen how much effort he puts into it and how much he enjoys it,” Daniel said. “I know how important it is to try to hang onto that camaraderie.”

The Calais American Legion is involved in various projects, including raising money for flags appropriate to different branches of military service, raising funds to purchase backpacks and supplies for children and several annual events. On the last Monday of every month (with the exception of December), a Veterans Meet and Greet is organized at the Schooner by the American Legion – an event that Daniel said “does help” with keeping the camaraderie going.

The winner of the raffle

Once the raffle for a fairy house to support the veterans was announced, support began to come in. One of the biggest contributors was Linda Rundin, a fan of Stewart’s fairy houses and a supporter of veterans’ causes. Tickets were sold throughout the summer, generating more than $200 in donations to the Calais American Legion.

When the day came to draw the raffle, Rundin’s name was picked. Completely thrilled with the news, Rundin shared that she had lost her mother recently. “This is Mom looking out for me,” she reflected. She plans to hang on to the fairy house temporarily before giving it to her granddaughter. Over the past several years she’s been developing a tradition of giving fairy-related items to her, and this one perfectly fits the bill. “Best Christmas ever,” Rundin enthused. “You never know what kind of magic awaits you when you shop locally.”

 

Bonnie Stewart’s fairy homes are available for purchase at the Eastport Commons.