Although the Second Annual Fresh Cut to a Fresh Start event was scheduled to begin at 4 pm., by 3:45 p.m., the lines were already forming outside New Mount Zion Church in Topeka. Inside, there were a lot for parents and their children to look forward to at this second annual back-to-school event: hotdogs, chips and drinks for them to enjoy while waiting to get their fresh cut and book bags filled with grade appropriate school supplies.

Midwest Barber College students and seasoned barbers from Topeka and Lawrence volunteered their services. Among the barbers was Tia Alejos. Tia has been in business for seven years and owns T Clipz Salon.

“I love this. It is bigger than I imagined and I love to give back,” said Alejos. “God didn’t give us tools for us to keep to ourselves.”

Over 120 children received a fresh cut to a fresh start. Parents were appreciative of the free cuts and book bags and the children were excited about their cuts.

“I like it, I really like it,” said Elias, one of the hair cut recipients, as he looked in the mirror.

Beyond the cuts and food, a diverse group of vendors offered information on opportunities, including The Chocolate Nutcracker, Boys and Girls Club, Grace Med, the Pine Ridge Family Health Center, and Mirror Me, a new local start-up business that captures memories through free dress up photos.

Pony rides, the Washburn Ichabod mascot, Paw Patrol and the popular Black Panther, were just a few of the attractions provided for the students. The Sheriff and Topeka Police were along in full presence playing games with children and passing out stickers and baseball cards.

Rev. Delmar White, pastor of New Mount Zion and Lisa Davis, coordinator of the event anticipate Fresh Start will continue annually. They’re hoping to get other churches and businesses involved. Since its first event last year, the event has already grown in corporate and business sponsorships and donations.

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