ELIZABETHTOWN — For Deborah and her family, going back to school presents not only new academic challenges, but additional financial hardship as well.
“We get $750 each month in disability — that’s all we have to live on,” she said pointedly Saturday afternoon. “Our bills are $600 each month. How are we supposed to afford all the clothes, school supplies and everything else needed to go back to school on just $150, and eat, too?”
Deborah — the Bladen Journal, as a courtesy, agreed to withhold publishing her real name — brought her two children to the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market on Saturday for the first Back 2 School Bash hosted by several area Methodist churches. Her son, like hundreds of other students who stood in the hour-long line, was getting a free haircut from one of the stylists who set up shop in the farmers market. The quartet — three men and one woman — brought in barber chairs, booster seats and capes, along with the drop cords, electric clippers, shears, brooms and dustpans, combs, and styling products necessary to transform the market into a beauty salon/barber shop. They did so in order to provide their services free of charge for Bladen County students.
“If it weren’t for this, I’d have to spend $12 each for hair cuts, and I don’t know what I would have done,” Deborah said while watching her son’s locks fall to the floor. “I just don’t know.”
As a member of a “classic” family — they all enjoy classic rock music and 19th century films — her son is a big James Dean buff and was trading the long locks common to the tween boy years for a cleaner, Dean-style look.
“Look at him,” the beaming mother pronounced. “He’s so happy.”
Barber Jamie Smith was trimming the youth’s auburn hair and talked about the decision to spend his Saturday afternoon away from His and Hers, the shop on Poplar Street in Elizabethtown he runs with his brother Garrett.
“My dad started this shop, and I know this is something he would do,” Jamie said. “It’s just a way to give back to the community. That’s something he instilled in us and something we want to do.”
“Think about what they’re doing,” Back 2 School Bash organizer and Bladen Charge Pastor Brock Meyer said while observing the group. “Saturday is their busiest day, and they don’t get paid a salary — they normally get paid for each customer they have. By spending their Saturday here, they’re donating not just their time, but their income too.”
All three of His and Hers stylists — the Smith brothers, as well as Bruce Harrelson — were at the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market while their shop was closed.
Additionally, Rose Ann Smith-Inman, a licensed beautician who currently works in another profession, donated her Saturday to the cause.
“She’s been working nonstop since we started,” Meyer said of Smith-Inman around noon. “She’s been working very hard. I don’t know how she’s doing it.”
Back in Smith’s chair, the barber flung aside the cape, auburn hair fell to the floor, and the youth sprang from the chair with precise lines around his ears, a neat and fresh look, and a wide grin. He ran his fingers through his new mane, familiarizing himself with the new ‘do.
“Better?” he asked his mom.
“Much better,” she answered.
Barbers donated their time and talent Saturday as a way to give back to the community.
Saturday’s back-to-school event drew hundreds to the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market, including an hour-long line for haircuts.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.