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Teaming together for the children

Local beauty salons are doing a lot more than hair this holiday season. Four salons and a cosmetology school in Lincolnton have teamed up to spread Christmas cheer to underprivileged area families.
Lyndsi Barnett, a student at Cosmetic Arts Academy in Lincolnton, spearheaded the idea.
“I figured that most people who are willing to spend a good amount of money on their hair would also be willing to donate to charity,” said Barnett.
Barnett initially sought fund-raising help with the Salvation Army, but was disheartened to find that their attention was focused on hurricane relief efforts.
“It’s really not [the Salvation Army’s] fault,” said Barnett. “I understand that some things may be more important, but it upset me that they had to be spread so thin.”
Barnett was about to give up her search when a member of Lincoln County School’s Head Start Center, a program benefiting low-income preschool-age children and their families, contacted her about donating gifts.
Barnett originally accepted six children to receive gifts, but realized she could do even more after four salons and her school offered to help.
Classy Cuts, Kym and Company, New Image and Professional Touch Salon all encouraged customers to bring in gifts for the adopted children.
“Every child got so much,” said Barnett. “That’s the great thing about Christmas when you’re little — it’s about the presents. It would be horrible for children not to get them.”
The response exceeded Barnett’s expectations. She was able to gather gifts for some 44 children in about a week.
Presents weren’t meager, either. A couple of presents were set aside per child, said Barnett.
Both clients and employees donated gifts, food and money for the drive. Clients and employees donated over $260, which will aid in buying food for the children’s family, according to Barnett.
“I was amazed at how much people have done,” said Barnett. “Not only did [clients] bring in presents for the children, people who didn’t bring in presents brought in food.”
The donated food items will go to the adopted children’s family for Christmas dinner, according to Barnett.
“So many families are going to get fed this Christmas because of people’s willingness to give,” said Barnett. “That’s just awesome.”
Though competition could be an issue among salons, Barnett finds that that’s not the case in Lincoln County.
“A good salon owner needs to network with other salons,” said Barnett. “This is more than hair, this is about children.”
This astounding response to Barnett’s efforts has inspired her to pursue fundraising efforts for years to come.
“I want to do this again, and next year I hope to do twice as much,” said Barnett.
For now, though, Barnett has a more pressing dilemma.
“I don’t know how to get all our presents to the Head Start center in Lincolnton,” said Barnett. “But that’s great.”
by Katie Rozycki

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