Life-changing experience leads Minneapolis woman to offer free haircuts to homeless

Gerard Ortiz

A Minneapolis girl turned impressed by a lifetime-changing haircut she bought when she was youthful, and discovered a way to aid other folks in her local community glimpse their very best — even if they could not pay for it.

Katie Stellar explained escalating up, her mom would lower her hair because she was a person of 6 youngsters. The household haircuts weren’t the most elegant.

“My mother was awful and I have pics to show it. But I in no way actually experienced any want to do anything with my hair,” she explained.

That was until finally Stellar was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease when she was 11 decades previous, which took a toll on both equally her human body and her hair. She began getting rid of her hair and eyelashes.

“I really did not notice how critical it was to me right up until I was losing it,” she reported.

Her mother, Julie Stellar, then searched for everything that may possibly make her daughter really feel just a minimal bit greater. She made a decision to get her daughter a real haircut with anyone who experienced their license.

For Stellar, the expertise was life-changing. She credited the hair stylist for making her come to feel comfy and harmless in the course of the appointment.

“What she did for me was she sat me down in this chair and talked to me as a man or woman, not as an ailment,” Stellar said.

The encounter lit a fire for Stellar. She herself became a hair stylist, but 1 with a mission — to make some others really feel the way she felt that day. She opened a salon, which led to the get started of the Pink Chair Undertaking.

Steve Hartman interviews Katie Stellar, the founder of the Red Chair Task, as she presents free of charge haircuts to the homeless.

CBS News

Stellar reported the thought driving the motion came as she was planning to open up her new salon. She generally desired crimson chairs in her salon and wasn’t prepared to compromise, but the opening of the salon was delayed, leaving her with a hoard of equipment in her house.

“I remember hunting at the chairs and getting, like, ‘This is sort of a waste,'” she reported. “Like, what if I caught this in my auto and went and available haircuts.”

Stellar mentioned she needed to offer haircuts to any person who requested, as she’s found individuals in her group of downtown Minneapolis battle with homelessness.

“I believe Purple Chair Undertaking definitely kind of stemmed from that sensation of wanting to clearly show up for people who could be battling or remaining on your own,” she claimed.

Stellar would method everyone she drove previous and offer you them a haircut. She said although some men and women politely turned down the present, other people have been a lot more than keen to get a contemporary search, including a guy called Beetlejuice.

“The a person issue I crave extra than anything at all right after staying homeless for so lengthy and not owning a major other… it is just that closeness, just human make contact with,” he said.

Heather Jacobs, who was at the time homeless and the leader of a makeshift homeless community, stated Stellar would occur all over and question if any individual required a haircut. 

Katie Stellar hopes the Red Chair Task carries on to encourage extra stylists to give out cost-free haircuts in the course of Minneapolis — and outside of.

CBS Information

“The smiles on their faces are irreplaceable,” claimed Jacobs, introducing that it gave folks a little something to look forward to.

In the course of Minneapolis, Stellar’s Red Chair Task has influenced far more stylists with more chairs to give extra free haircuts. She claimed she’s happy viewing other people today carrying on the operate she begun.

“I have had someone ask me like, ‘Well, do you get type of threatened when you see folks doing it?'” Stellar mentioned. “I am like, ‘No. Competitive kindness. That is my variety of level of competition appropriate there. Outdo me. I dare you. Like, make sure you!'”

For some, that contact of kindness can be everyday living-altering, just as it experienced been for Stellar several years before. CBS Information tracked down the stylist, whose title is Amy White, to deliver the two collectively for the first time considering that Stellar received her life-changing haircut.

White said she isn’t going to try to remember executing nearly anything distinct for the duration of Stellar’s check out, but remembered that she was particular. Stellar thinks that what White gave her that day was a present.

“It is really a single of individuals items I can hardly ever repay,” she said. “I can set it forward. How can I use my lifestyle to relieve somebody else’s suffering, even just for a moment?”

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