‘It’s basically just helping people feel alive again’: Veteran starts nonprofit to provide free haircuts
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Just days ago, a Grand Strand veteran started a nonprofit organization to provide haircuts to disabled veterans, hospice patients, the homeless, and those less fortunate.
Stephen Paul, better known as “SP The Barber,” got the idea for The Cut That Counts Foundation when he was contacted by a nurse who asked for his help.
Paul owns Neptune’s Hair and Beard Company, a barbershop in Myrtle Beach, so he’s no stranger to mastering a fresh look.
Nearly two years ago, he was contacted by Sarah Craig, a registered nurse, who asked for a favor she knew would change the day or even the month for her patient.
The favor was a haircut and though it may seem simple to many, it’s the haircut that left an impact on SP, leading him to start this new nonprofit.
The goal is to travel the coast in mobile units and provide haircuts to disabled veterans, hospice patients, homeless and the less fortunate. Once they have everything ready to go, they ultimately want to do a tour down the East Coast and stop at all the VA centers along the way, from Maine to Florida.
“It’s basically just helping people feel alive again, giving them hope for something as simple as a haircut," Paul said. "I want to do one that can hold three barber stations or salon stations, and then sleep four so we can actually get on the road and hit every VA along the coast eventually, or hospital or whoever needs us.”
Paul said the name came from thinking about this possibly being someone’s last haircut and having to make it count.
His nonprofit is just days old and he needs help with funding. The Cut that Counts Foundation has a GoFundMe page ready to go. It’s already raised over $400.
In the short amount of time they’ve been an official nonprofit, Paul said many people have expressed interest. He also has a board of people who are helping him get started.
Adam Kipple, the marketing director for The Cut that Counts Foundation, said they also have a funding page that’s coming to their website. He said they’ve talked about apparel, accessories and events to spread the word too.
Debbie Locke, the foundation’s treasurer, said one of the things she’s looking forward to is seeing the faces of those who receive a haircut.
“The smiles, the happiness, the look on someone’s face when you give them something that’s so simple, yet for them, may be so hard to come by," Locke said.
Craig said the haircut for her patient gave him a sense that “there’s a future.”
"You got next week to live for, you got next month, you know, look ahead. Actually, interesting enough, when he was finally discharged from the hospital, he lost all of his hair because of his treatment so that was his last haircut before he lost it all, so it even became more special than we even realize,” she said.
At the time the patient, Victor Gonzalez, was going through so much but he’s alive and well today. Gonzalez said the haircut is something he’ll remember forever.
“I felt like a new person, like I felt clean," Gonzalez said. "I wasn’t expecting to get a haircut at a hospital. I really thought my hair was gonna grow and I was just gonna look not clean. Like I used to like having a clean shave, so I just felt good, really good.”
The Cut that Counts Foundation is still in the early stages but there’s a way for you to help. You can donate through their GoFundMe page and stay updated on their website The Cut That Counts Foundation.
They’re also looking for licensed barbers and cosmetologists to help.
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