Every Sunday, a small group of volunteers from the organization For the Love of Pete’s Pantry head to Aviator Park in Philadelphia to provide food for the homeless as part of the nonprofit’s Treats on the Streets program.
For about an hour, volunteers give out coffee, donuts, cereal and milk to people at the park, along with what they call blessing bags. But June 27 was special, because one of the nonprofit’s regular volunteers, Allie Steinbach, also gave haircuts in the park that Sunday.
“She’s like, ‘These people could really use a haircut; you think I can do this?’ And I was like ‘Sure!’” said Jean Rodrigues, organizer of For the Love of Pete’s Pantry, about Steinbach’s offer. “So we did Treats on the Streets and we did Haircuts in the Park.”
Over the course of the next two and a half hours, Steinbach gave about 15 haircuts, including dreadlocks and beard trims.
“It was a little bit of a challenge, but once we got into the flow of things, it worked out well,” Steinbach recalled.
A bit hesitant at first because she didn’t think a lot of people would agree to haircuts, Steinbach found that when people saw what was going on in the park and realized it was free, they lined up.
“It was nice for them and they were very appreciative,” Steinbach said. “ … Especially since it’s like 100 degrees.”
Steinbach, a hairdresser at Shear Pizazz in Berlin Borough, hopes to do more haircuts in the park sometime in August and again in the fall. She has volunteered with For the Love of Pete’s Pantry since the nonprofit’s West Berlin branch started in April. That branch is run by Rodrigues and her sister operates the pantry in Seaford, New York.
The nonprofit has made it its mission to provide free nonperishable food, diapers, wipes and formula to people in need and it has a variety of different ways to help. In addition to Treats on the Streets, For the Love of Pete’s Pantry provides Baby Bundles filled with diapers, wipes, toiletries and crocheted blankets to local hospitals and clinics, and produces Doggie Bags, collections of dog treats, water bowls, and leashes for local police to use as they rescue animals. Its Blessing Bags are filled with toiletries like toothbrushes, body wash and snacks.
Though it will have breaks on July 3 and 10, For the Love of Pete’s Pantry will be back in Philadelphia with Treats on the Streets on July 17.
For those interested in volunteering with For the Love of Pete’s Pantry, email email@example.com. To stay up to date with the nonprofit, visit https://www.facebook.com/For-The-Love-of-Petes-Pantry-101093345078933/.