Charity event goes national

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Last year's free haircut event attracted a large crowd. Photos: Petrina Wright

A UNIQUE event designed to support the Southland community’s most in need is catching on nationwide.

The Free Haircuts and Other Services for Those in Need event conceived and realised by Melissa Aitken is being replicated in Wellington next weekend.

“It is amazing that my wee idea has gone huge in Southland and now people are wanting to get it going in their town,” she said.

“I feel very very proud, teary-eyed proud and filled with joy with the fact that another event is about to kick off [in another centre].”

It was after her television appearance on TV One’s Good Sorts segment in February that she started fielding phone calls and social media messages from people throughout New Zealand interested in running similar events in their communities.

Ms Aitken said the response to the television segment had been immense.

“I was overwhelmed and humbled. I felt so proud of myself.”

It had always been her dream the event would be held throughout New Zealand, ideally on the same day, she said.

Preparations were under way for the eighth biannual Free Haircuts event in Invercargill next month.

Not only had the number of people being supported grown substantially since the event’s inception, with more than 1000 people expected to attend next month’s event, but also the number of people wanting to offer their assistance was continuing to grow.

Ms Aitken said they needed donations of non-perishable food items for take-home grocery bags, school lunch supplies, nappies, sanitary products, toiletries, pre-loved clothing, books and toys for the event.

Donated items could be dropped off to the Southland Expressoffices, 5 The Crescent, Invercargill before noon on Friday, August 9.

Free Haircuts and Other Services for Those in Need, Aurora College, Invercargill, Sunday, August 11.

For more information go to Free Haircuts/Services for Southlanders in Need Facebook page or phone Melissa on 027 533 3600.

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