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Nanaimo barbers and librarians help less fortunate kids get ready for back-to-school

Fresh Start event took place at Harbourfront library branch Saturday
James Tyler of Heavy D’s Barbershop gives a child a fresh haircut at the Fresh Start back-to-school event at Harbourfront library branch Aug. 28. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Barbers, librarians and other volunteers in Nanaimo are teaming up to help children get a fresh start to their school year.

The brainchild of That 50’s Barber Shop owner Dave Lawrence, Fresh Start back-to-school fundraiser was held Saturday, Aug. 28, at Harbourfront library. Some of the city’s less-fortunate kids received backpacks, school supplies, library cards, clothing and haircuts. Lawrence was assisted by fellow barbers from Heavy D’s Barbershop and a host of volunteers.

The idea to hold the Fresh Start event at the library was conceived in 2019, said Lee Losell, a Harbourfront branch children and youth services librarian.

“I was getting a haircut at That 50’s Barber Shop and Dave and I started talking … and I thought, it’s just a natural fit for us to try and do something together,” said Losell. “Then of course, the global viral pandemic kind of got in the way, but we’re really happy to be able to get together with Dave on this event and get more library cards in the hands of more kids.”

Dan Awalt, of Heavy D’s, said he and his co-workers were glad to lend a hand.

“Dave gave us a shout and asked us to come down and help out,” said Awalt. “We had lots of support in the community. We’re down at Departure Bay, so we had lots of neighbours come down and drop off bags, we had over 50 bags and all kinds of donations dropped off.”

Lawrence said he was pleased with the support and enjoyed teaming up with Heavy D’s, the library and others.

“It’s been such an awesome thing,” said Lawrence. “The community has come together in a crazy way. We have so many backpacks, so many school supplies, so many donations by people, so we’re set to help a lot of kids this year, which is just awesome and we’re only going to keep going more and more with this.”

RELATED: Fundraiser to give Nanaimo students a Fresh Start

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

After interning at Vancouver Metro free daily newspaper, I joined Black Press in 2010.
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