“There really isn’t another resource like this in the community that’s available for someone to get a free haircut — someone who might be in poverty, who might be homeless,” said Katie Paquette, Great Plains Intern.
Food banks, phone services, application help and now haircuts are ways community groups are helping those in need.
“COVID really hit us bad. So, I think that any little thing that we can do to give back is going to be greatly appreciated,” said Deanna Barnes, hairstylist at Deez Kutz.
The pandemic brought about some challenges getting this event off of the ground, but the Ministry on the Margins, along with the Coalition for Homeless, found a way to make it work.
“We had a specific event that would bring lots of people together all at once. It didn’t really make sense to do that during 2020. So what we did more is we just said well this still a need that’s in the community, so we need to just bring this back in some capacity,” said Matthew Coen-Tuff, Program Director for Ministry on the Margins.
On any given day, North Dakota has 557 people experiencing homelessness. That’s according to a 2019 report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Now, with the pandemic, the number of homeless people, or people near homelessness, could be even higher.
“Actually, our February one, we ended up having to turn two people away. So, we’re trying to find as many stylists as we can, more volunteers,” said Paquette.
“Someone reached out to me in my inbox for Facebook and asked if I would be interested to give back to the community. Immediately I was like, yes,” said Barnes.
People who went to get the haircuts tell us they are grateful.
“The last time I cut my hair was back when I was in prison. I haven’t cut it since then. It’s nice to have someone to help you out with whatever you need,” said Raymond Rushton.
“It’s very fulfilling. Something as little as a haircut can mean so much to somebody, so I’m happy to do it,” said Barnes.
The Ministry on the Margins is currently looking for more hairstylists to donate their time for upcoming haircutting events. The next event will be Tuesday, May 11.