A business owner is lessening the back-to-school burden for some parents in the Bronx, but the effort is also about investing in the future of the community. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Kids getting ready for school got any cut and design for just $10 at The Barber Factory in the Bronx.
"I want to keep the mohawk," said student Anthony Pabon. "I just want the sides shaved and the back, and then I'm going to get this."
"Not a lot of barbershops do anything for the kids besides take their money," said another person at the event.
They also got a free backpack and school supplies at the third annual Pack-A-Bag at The Barber Factory in the Bronx.
"School supplies are not cheap, and teachers ask for a bundle of things," said one person who went to The Barber Factory for the event.
"I think this is a great help for the single parents like myself," said another.
"I have four kids and I'm the only income, you know, so any little bit helps," said a third.
The organizer said these barbers are giving away much more than discounted hair cuts and free school supplies. They're giving hope to a community that's seen an uptick in violence this summer, particularly among young people. The Barber Factory is on Laconia Avenue, one block away from the 47th Precinct station house.
"It makes a big difference," said guest barber Anthony Cruz. "They look at us as big brothers. They come here every day and they'll ask us questions about anything in life, so that shows that the need is still there in the community for that big brother."
"There are positive male role models still in our community," said guest barber Herbert Smith. "Everybody's not on drugs. Everybody's not locked up. There's some good men that really genuinely care."
Smith cared so much, he drove seven hours from Virginia. Others came from Massachussets, Maryland and Puerto Rico, to name a few places. They hope the event inspires others to do the same.
In the meantime, Pack-A-Bag's organizer, Nestor Lebron, is always looking for new ways to help keep young people in the neighborhood out of trouble.
"We're looking into starting some internships where we can teach some barbering to some of the kids around here who don't have anything else to do, and maybe, we can send them in a better direction," Lebron said.