PITTSBURG — This year will be the tenth year Victory Life Church offers free haircuts for children in PreK through twelfth grade.
The first year there were approximately 30 children and three hair stylists. Originally, the event was in hair salons, but now it is at the church to accommodate all of the children.
“We moved to the church about five years ago,” Pastor Donnie Talent said. “We kept growing, and growing, and growing.”
Hair Stylist Kristy Mjelde has cut children’s hair at the event since the beginning.
“First it was just a handful of hairdressers — there wasn’t even 10,” she said “Now there are a whole bunch of girls who do it.”
Mjelde said the experience cutting some of the children’s hair brought tears to her eyes.
“I wish we had more time with each individual, some have never had anything done to their hair,” Mjelde said.
“I’ve had to step out a few times with tears in my eyes, because they were so excited to get a haircut.”
Her daughter Lesley Mjelde agreed.
“It is emotional because of how happy kids get,” she said.
Lesley Mjelde followed her mother’s footsteps and is also a hair stylist. She has cut hair for free for four years at the church’s Back2School events.
“This is a great thing to be a part of,” she said. “I don’t mind taking a few hours to help.”
Talent said the hairstylists who spend their time cutting hair for free at the event are superheros.
“The stylists are our superheroes,” Talent said. “Thirty-five stylists gave up their time and evening.”
According to Talent, now the haircuts average to about 400 to 450 children and he said parents appreciate the free haircuts for their children.
“Parents with four, five to six kids really appreciate an opportunity to get their kids hair cut,” he said.
Community organizations and businesses will be coming to sponsor the event, bringing fun things for children to enjoy — including bounce houses, bucket rides, dunk tanks, snow cones, dental checkups, hot dogs, police officers, fire department and more, all free for the community.
“This year Midwest AeroCare is bringing a helicopter,” Talent said. “These are community building pieces — that’s what’s fun about it.
“It’s an evening of fun and getting ready to go back to school.”
Talent said the church is also working on having clothes to give out this year.
Talent said he is thankful for the sponsors who have spent time at the event over the years and this year.
“We have great community sponsors,” he said. “ We are thankful for the support they give for the event and understand how important it is.”
The event will be on Monday August, 14 at Victory Life Church from 2 to 8 p.m.
Children must be registered for haircuts before the event.
To register, call the church’s office at (620) 232-1150 or send a message through the Victory Life Church Facebook page. Registration and the event is completely free.
“Donnie is a wonderful man,” Kristy Mjelde said. “It is very fulfilling to do it [cut hair for the children], there is a lot of poverty in Pittsburg...Donnie is doing a great service for Pittsburg.
“These children do appreciate it, they really do.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.