To the cheers of her supporters, Carol Schillios got an Edmonds Fire Department ladder truck escort off the roof of her Fabric of Life store Saturday afternoon.
After she was on firm ground, Schillios joined the crowd in dancing to the beat of African drums, as Main Street was blocked off for a short time between 5th and 6th Avenue to allow for the celebration.
Schillios spent 113 days and raised nearly $100,000 to help people become self-sufficient in both the U.S. and developing nations through her Fabric of Life Foundation.While she didn’t meet her original goal of raising $1 million, Schillios was touched by the public’s response. “People have been so generous,” she said.
In an interview before departing from her small tent, which has served as her home since July 31 and it recent weeks has been buffeted by heavy rain and strong wind, Schillios said that many good things came out of her well-publicized rooftop adventure.
“The community is becoming so much more aware of fair trade issues,” she said, noting that the increasing number of people visiting her Fabric of Life store are educated about her Foundation’s efforts to help women and children in developing countries to become self-sufficient by giving them a marketplace for their goods.
In addition, Schillios said the media coverage has connected her with many worthwhile projects and organizations, including a program through the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services that will provide workplace training at the Edmonds Fabric of Life store to recently arrived refugees.
During her four months on the roof, Schillios said she learned that “I can live with a lot less. ” In addition, living outdoors in all types of weather — from the scorching heat of August through November’s driving wind and rain — “has heightened my awareness of the needs of the homeless and what types of lives they must have.”
She has been touched by the number of people who have said they were inspired to do good works of their own. Many people would stop on the sidewalk in front of the shop at 523 Main St., where a basket was left for donations, and call to her on the rooftop so they could make a contribution and say hello — sometimes at 9 or 10 p.m. While she appreciated the generosity and the connections, Schillios said that the constant flow of people did dampen one of her rooftop goals: to spend a large chunk of time writing, reading and in reflection. “Sometimes I was up and down from my chair 15 times a day,” she said.
Her first priority after coming off the roof? A hot shower, followed by some quiet time at home.
Even though she is off the roof, donations are always welcome to the Foundation. In addition, the store has a variety of unique items that are ideal for holiday giving, including jewelry, clothing, scarves and holiday ornaments.