December is upon us. It's the last month of the year filled with busy schedules and lots of holidays: Hanukkah is an eight day Jewish festival that reaffirms the ideals of Judaism and commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem by lighting nightly candles on a menorah. It is also celebrated by playing games, family dinners and exchanging gifts. The exact dates vary because Hanukkah is always on the 25th day of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar which is actually in the year 5783.
On the 25th of December, Christians celebrate Christmas as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a religious leader regarded as the Son of God or the Incarnation of God. It could arguably be the largest birthday celebration.
The day after Christmas, Kwanzaa, a seven day celebration of African-American culture, starts and culminates in a communal feast called Karamu. Kwanzaa was established in 1966 by activist Maulana Karenga, based on African harvest festival traditions from various parts of West and Southeast Africa.
In between celebrating holidays, battling winter weather, cutting clients and readying to ring in the New Year, many barbers find ways to give back to their community year round.
Influencer motivator Vic Blends reaches out to individuals everywhere he goes, humanizing each person with meaningful conversations and sharing their stories. Barber Cookie Zamarripa in Austin Texas, holds cut-a-thons at Thanksgiving and this past year at Uvalde, TX to bring a sense of normalcy to a shell-shocked community. Kenny Duncan, owner of Mane Attraction Unisex Salon, started Barbers Who Care, a 501c non-profit organization, that holds the largest back-to-school hair cutting event in Philadelphia, complete with complimentary backpacks filled with school supplies. The organization also sponsors selected schools throughout the year to provide free haircuts to the students. Andis and Luster are supporters of Barbers Who Care.
Nieves Almaraz, owner of How to Fade Hair Barber School in Cicero, IL, partnered with his church in 2017. He says, “My church was working toward constructing a new building that was adjacent from the building they were currently in. The pastor and I thought of having a fundraising event for the new construction project by offering haircuts at no cost; however if the person who was getting their haircut would like they could leave a donation of their choice it would be donated to the church.” Since the pandemic, Almaraz holds Donation Box Haircut events at his barber school for most holidays benefitting many community groups as well as providing non-profit social service haircuts.
DaPeoplesBarber AKA Rick Morin of Corpus Christi, TX first brought his Wahl clippers to his church’s “Taking It to the Streets” event where they went out to help clothe, feed and help those in need. He offered to provide cutting services. A few months later, the pastor of Church United, turned a room in the church into a barbershop. Morin says, “My wife is also a barber and we, as well as other community stylists, donate time to service those in need on a weekly basis.”