SALT LAKE CITY — Sometimes a little service to get you in the Christmas spirit is as simple as a fresh coat of nail polish or a new haircut.
More than 200 volunteers gathered Sunday at the Bud Bailey apartments at 3970 S. Main St. to provide haircuts to around 400 refugees, more than half of them children. Aside from haircuts, volunteers also painted nails, did makeup, took professional photos, gave alpaca rides, and had a multitude of activities for kids.
The event was put on by an organization called Care-Cuts, which also does haircuts and makeovers for the homeless. This is the third year they’ve done a service project for refugees.
It’s a way to make them feel special and, more importantly, welcome. The complex houses hundreds of refugees from all over the world. They’re strangers, but Sunday they were family.
“Just by showing them that we care and we do this because we love them,” said Laicie, a volunteer. “I think that’s what matters to them.”
“I am just happy to share my talent,” said Johanna Warr, another volunteer. “To give back any way I can.”
Barbra Moeller was another one of the many volunteers who showed up to serve. She knows what it’s like to be in need. For 18 months, she and her children were homeless.
“I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “There’s no ‘Welcome to homeless in Utah’ pamphlet that tells you where to find food or how to survive.”
That phase of life is behind her now, but she volunteers to show others they matter.
“I never forget how hard it was to get warm in a car or not having enough blankets or gloves,” Moeller said. “But that moment where someone was just glad I was there was life changing, so I tend to volunteer with people who add humanity back where it was taken away.”
“I get hugs, I get smiles, and I get to see humanity happen in person,” she added.
Care-Cuts organizers were extremely happy with Sunday’s turnout. They said the volunteer effort grows every year, and there’s a good reason.
“As soon as you look into the eyes of some of these kids, you will see the exact why we’re doing this,” Leslie Kawai said. “It’s this way that we have to connect and be able to say: “Hey, we’re glad that you’re here. We want you to feel welcome, and we want you to feel loved.’”