Minnesota Barber Gives Away Haircuts and Backpacks to Needy Kids Headed Back to School

Playing Barber Shop Throws Back-to-School Party With Barbecue and Free Haircuts

The line snaked down the sidewalk, but no one seemed to care.

There was music, barbecue, games and best of all — a free haircut from barber Milan Dennie, who knows the hottest styles and just what a hip kid needs to rock the first day of school.

The most popular do? A Mohwak, Dennie said. Not your grandpa's standing-straight-up punk-rock extravaganza, but "a bit more complex" hairstyle that is "more faded on the sides and rounded at the top," he explained.

Dennie should know. He's been cutting hair in this St. Paul neighborhood since moving here in 2014 to start a new life. But he carried a lot of old stuff with him, including the knowledge that going back to school can mean costs some can't afford to pay.

Growing up in Gary, Indiana, with a single mother, Dennie remembers the peer pressure to have expensive sneakers, designer clothes and the latest hairstyle. As an adult, he began giving away haircuts and school supplies to whoever showed up at his shop, first come, first served. 

He did it most recently on Labor Day in his King Milan's Barbershop on University Avenue. He started at about 9 a.m. and finally set down his scissors and clippers about 12 hours, and more than 200 heads, later. He was exhausted, he said, and still is, he told InsideEdition.com. 

He had been prepping for weeks for the annual giveaway — collecting food, backpacks, financial donations and hair supplies. He grew up poor, he said, and he knows that haircuts, especially for families with more than one or two children, can quickly add up to a frightening sum.

He also knows the importance of being a source of good for the community, and of being a bastion of hope. As well as serving good eats and providing trendy haircuts. 

"It's important that kids and parents know we care and respect" every one of them, Dennie said. "Them spending the day with us shows the parents care about the self-esteem of their child."

But it wasn't just parents who brought children to Dennie's shop. "There were neighbors who knew of kids with unfortunate circumstances and brought them to our event," he said.

Asked what makes him want to stand on his feet for 12 hours and work for free, the barber replied, "Just to see how happy the crowd was, that is the most important reason I do this."

Along with haircuts and burgers, Dennie and company also gave out "200 backpacks full of supplies and plenty of time and love," he said.

RELATED STORIES 

How to Do Your Back-to-School Shopping Without Breaking the Bank

Mom Takes Hilarious Back-to-School Pictures With Her Kids Every Year

The Budget Mom's Tips for Back-to-School Shopping