Hair salon holds ‘cut-a-thon’ for Madison Heights Food Pantry

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published June 22, 2022

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MADISON HEIGHTS — A local business is offering haircuts for a good cause, with proceeds benefiting the Madison Heights Food Pantry. The pantry has been feeding the community since the start of the pandemic, and continues to do so amid soaring inflation, so every donation helps.

Bitter Ends Barber-Salon, 26084 John R Road in Madison Heights, will host a “cut-a-thon” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 26. A team of licensed industry professionals will donate their time and skill so that 100% of the proceeds can be donated to the pantry.

People can walk in or call the business at (313) 681-1796 to make an appointment for that day. The cost is $20 per haircut. There will also be baked goods for sale, with all proceeds donated, and a table selling antique collectibles, where a portion of the proceeds will be donated. The antiques table is operated by some of the salon’s clients.

Bitter Ends is operated by owners David and Marisa Reinhold.

“A few months back, we saw the pantry posted about being in dire need, that the pantry was empty of supplies,” said Marisa Reinhold, in an email. “Immediately, our team went into action.”

Her business started with donations of hair care products. Employees of Bitter Ends then went through their homes to see what else could be donated.

“Giving back has always been important to Bitter Ends, and with everything that’s happened the past couple years, it was obvious to us that our first cut-a-thon should be for the (pantry),” Reinhold said. “We wanted to support the community that has supported us.

“It’s important to support this amazing cause for the community as a whole, for those who have fallen on hard times,” she said. “Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. The charity you support today, you may need tomorrow. Lifting each other up through hard times builds a stronger community.”    

Laurie Geralds, president of the Madison Heights Food Pantry, said in an email that all items at the pantry are distributed based on donations. The pantry has non-perishable items but also tries to get fresh produce, baked goods, meat, eggs and dairy. The pantry offers other items, as well, trying to provide dog and cat food, diapers, adult incontinence products, hygiene items, cleaning products and more on the first distribution of each month, depending on availability.

The pantry itself is located at the rear right corner of Central Church, 1529 E. 12 Mile Road in Madison Heights. The church donates the space to the pantry. Its drive-up hours are the first and third Saturdays of the month. The month of July will have five Saturdays this year, so the pantry plans to skip the holiday weekend and hold hours on July 9 and July 23, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

The pantry also makes deliveries twice a month, limited to Madison Heights residents who don’t have any means of transportation. For more information, call Central Church at (248) 547-3555.

There are volunteers working for the pantry about five days a week, handling a variety of tasks, from sorting donations and taking inventory, to shopping, checking expiration dates, planning menus, preparing packing lists for box fliers and updating delivery lists. There are currently about 15-20 volunteers involved in prep and distribution for pickups, and another four to six focused on deliveries. All food and funds are donated from the community and businesses.

Geralds said the pantry was “wonderful from the beginning,” when it mobilized and opened a mere two weeks into the COVID shutdown.

“The team came up with a plan and coordinated volunteers who created something that none of them had ever done before,” Geralds said.

She said that once the system was fine-tuned for efficiency, the team began looking for a location that could accommodate the 110-130 families they were serving twice a month. The church proved to be a suitable location, providing abundant space for storage and distribution.

“I am in awe of the work of the pantry volunteers, and their incredible dedication to serving the community with compassion, creativity and thoughtfulness,” Geralds said. “We have learned that the need for food security was around long before we were. We will continue to help ease that concern for our residents for as long as we have the generous support of our community.”

The pantry president also thanked the hair salon.

“Our partnership with Bitter Ends was initiated by them, and we are so thankful that they reached out to us,” Geralds said. “These are the kinds of acts of kindness that make Madison Heights a very special community.”