Press release from Interfaith Assistance Ministry:
Thanks to the giving hearts of local barbers and hair stylists, Interfaith Assistance Ministry is hosting its second annual Free Back-to-School Haircut Clinic for Henderson County school students who receive free or reduced lunches the Saturday before schools start.
IAM’s haircut clinic on Saturday, Aug. 24, is open to students ages 4 to 18 and will take place in the back parking lot outside of the food pantry and clothing closet from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
The haircut event is part of IAM’s annual back-to-school supply and school clothes drive, said Elizabeth Willson Moss, IAM’s executive director. In 2018, IAM provided 607 children with backpacks filled with school supplies needed for elementary, middle and high schools. Students who attend this year’s haircut event are also eligible to receive a backpack filled with school supplies, a new school outfit and new shoes and socks, after their parent or guardian completes a short interview with an IAM volunteer. The number of students IAM assists with school supplies continues to increase each year. In 2017, IAM assisted 503 children; in 2018 the number grew to 612 children, and the number is already large for 2019.
IAM started providing children with backpacks, school supplies and a new outfit on June 17 for students who attend year-round schools and on July 29 for students who attend the traditional calendar schools. By the end of the day Thursday (Aug. 8), IAM had provided 295 students with supplies and clothing.
“Our community’s generosity during the back-to-school season in July and August blesses Interfaith with the resources needed to serve our neighbors in need,” Moss said. “Thank you for sending us checks and holding back-to-school supply drives in your neighborhoods and retirement communities. One compassionate donor even through a dinner party and asked attendees to bring school supplies and checks!”
Fifteen hair stylists and barbers from local salons have agreed to volunteer their time to help children whose parents cannot afford a haircut. Last year, two hair stylists and one barber provided 47 children with a fresh haircut to start school the following Monday. For many of the students, it was the first time the child had ever received a professional haircut, Moss said.
“The children were so incredibly grateful,” Moss said. “Each year we help families who only need help once a year with school supplies, which can quickly exceed $100 and even $200 for high school students. We don’t want struggling families to have to choose between buying groceries, paying the rent or keeping the lights on.”
Students eligible for the free haircut and school supplies and clothing also include families who receive services from IAM, the Salvation Army, The Free Clinics, Blue Ridge Community Health Services, Safelight, Children & Family Resource Center, Hendersonville Boys & Girls Club, the Hendersonville Rescue Mission and Henderson County’s Department of Social Services.
IAM, the largest nonprofit provider of emergency crisis services in Henderson County, was founded in 1984 to serve as a clearing house for local faith congregations to assist area residents in financial crisis with food, clothing, shoes, utility bill and rent assistance. Over the years IAM’s services have increased to include personal hygiene items, prescription assistance, linens, blankets, school supplies, transportation assistance, pet food, medical cost assistance, food for a week’s worth of three meals a day, a Working Women’s Clothing Closet and more. Please make donations via IAM’s website or mail to P.O Box 2562, Hendersonville, NC, 28792.