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Nanaimo barber seeking donations for Fresh Start back-to-school charity drive

More than 1,000 kids have received free haircuts and school supplies over the years
Dave Lawrence, owner of That 50’s Barbershop, is looking for donations of clothes, backpacks, and other school supplies for his Fresh Start back-to-school fundraiser which is on its ninth year of helping local children in need. (Bailey Seymour/News Bulletin)

A Nanaimo barbershop owner said his back-to-school fundraiser is bouncing back since the pandemic, and he is looking for donations as schools resume next month.

Dave Lawrence, owner of That 50’s Barbershop, started his Fresh Start back-to-school fundraiser in 2015 after a customer told him about serving food at the 7-10 Club to those who live in poverty.

“It wasn’t just homeless people that went there, it was families and kids, and all that stuff really started educating me on child poverty,” Lawrence said. “I didn’t realize that there was so much child poverty on the Island here, so it was very discouraging.”

The first Fresh Start fundraiser was “thrown together” in three weeks and served 75 kids. The barbershop donated backpacks, school supplies, clothes and a free haircut for children getting ready for another year of school.

In 2022, Fresh Start managed to help more than 200 kids and since its inception, Lawrence and “army of volunteers” have delivered more than 1,000 haircuts. They also now have organizations and local businesses reaching out and donating to the cause.

“The need is there. And the need, I feel, is never going to go away. So I realized, probably a couple of years ago, that this is probably something that I’m going to be doing probably for the rest of my life,” said Lawrence.

READ MORE: Nanaimo barber asking for donations to Fresh Start back-to-school charity drive

He said this year has been OK, but Fresh Start could especially use more clothing donations to be able to provide kids with a package of a new backpack, haircut and a new outfit before school starts again.

The team is also looking for residents to donate any school supplies, from calculators and earbuds to shoes and backpacks. Those looking to donate can drop off supplies at That 50’s Barbershop on Victoria Crescent or at the Harbourfront Library.

The Fresh Start event will he held at the Harbourfront Library on Saturday, Sept. 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kids will get the chance to get a haircut from Lawrence or other local barbers and stylists and pick up school supplies. The barbershop will also be holding several fundraising events throughout the month which will be announced on the Fresh Start Facebook page.

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Bailey Seymour

About the Author: Bailey Seymour

After graduating from SAIT and stint with the Calgary Herald, I ended up at the Nanaimo News Bulletin/Ladysmith Chronicle in March 2023
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