Tiki Task Force Supports Healthcare Heroes

One Farmington man's quarantine boredom led to a unique way to give back

You can hear buzzing from a backyard in Farmington most days of the week: It's the sound of creativity born in a time of crisis.

When Senan Gorman, the graphic designer by trade, found his work slowing to a halt amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he decided to use his newfound free time to take up a new skill -- chainsaw carving.

One Farmington family decided to do their part during the coronavirus pandemic by carving and selling tiki art to raise money to help feed healthcare workers.

"I've always wanted a cool chainsaw," he said, laughing.

Senan Gorman of Farmington taught himself chainsaw carving as a new quarantine hobby. Now he's using his new skills to give back to front line workers.

But it's more than just a cool way of cutting down quarantine boredom. It's also a way to give back.

Tiki Task Force carves Tiki statues to sell locally and use the money to buy lunches for Healthcare Workers, Nursing Home Staff and group home staff. https://www.facebook.com/tikitaskforce/

"We really appreciate the front-line workers," he said, "and wanted to see what we can do to, to help them out."

So, putting his creativity to work, Gorman enlisted his family into what he calls the 'Tiki Task Force.'

Their mission? Transforming downed trees and donated logs into tiki statues, which are then sold locally, with all proceeds used to buy lunches for healthcare heroes.

Gorman uses the proceeds from the sale of his tiki statues, ranging from $100 to $200, to buy lunch for healthcare workers.

Why tikis?

"They mean a variety of different things, but warding off evil, promoting health and wellness and prosperity," Gorman explained.

The Baldovi family of Farmington requested their donation be used to feed the staff at CCMC's NICU, where their triplets spent the first few months of their lives.

For Gorman's son Senan, a high school athlete, it's also a way to keep up with physical training since his lacrosse and track seasons were cancelled. The junior Senan hauls and debarks the wood with his siblings, a process he calls "grueling" but gratifying.

"Very painstaking, you have to make sure it's very clean and get all the rough bark off so it's easy to carve," he said.

From there, it takes the senior Senan about four hours to carve each tiki.

The Gorman siblings help prepare donated wood for carving into tiki statues.

Through the Tiki Task Force Facebook page and around town, word spread quickly.

Gorman's already filled over 30 orders and has a backlog of at least 40 more statues lined up, ranging in price from $100 to $200.

So far, he's donated over $3,000 worth of meals to healthcare workers at a growing list of facilities including Connecticut Children's, Middlesex Hospital, Mt. Sinai Rehab Hospital, MidState Medical Center and the Jerome Home and Arbor Rose in New Britain.

Photos: Tiki Task Force Supports Healthcare Heroes

Gorman orders the meals through local restaurants like Toasted Oat Cafe of Canton and Mondo Restaurant of Middletown. providing a much-needed boost for one of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic.

And he's also made cash donations to local food pantries, something he'll be doing more of as COVID-19 cases wind down.

"The mission will absolutely change moving forward. It already has begun to evolve," he said. "We’ve donated to our local food pantry in Farmington, and next week we’re visiting a local domestic violence shelter and a homeless shelter, so we’re hoping to continue benefiting our community in that kind of way.”

He's also hoping other chainsaw carvers and creative types will draw inspiration from his unique model of giving and join the Tiki Task Force.

"Just like the hokey pokey, that’s what it’s all about. The idea being, big picture, that any chainsaw carver can pick up a chainsaw, carve a tiki, sell it locally anywhere they are globally, and benefit their own community in some way," he said.

To learn more about the Tiki Task Force, donate or volunteer, check out their Facebook page.

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