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Dinkytown organizations offer haircuts and more to unsheltered neighbors

At the University Lutheran Church of Hope this weekend, those who needed it could drop in for a hot meal, supplies and other resources.
Image by Shannon Doyle
Stylist Jared Swanegan trims Tim Krolsek’s beard in front of the University Lutheran Church of Hope on Saturday, March 6. The church hosted a drop-in event for unhoused people, offering free haircuts, hot meals, jackets and supplies.

Neighborhood groups and outreach organizations came together Saturday as a part of ongoing efforts to better support their unsheltered neighbors.

About a dozen unhoused community members showed up to the “Drop-in Day” event sponsored at the University Lutheran Church of Hope near Dinkytown. There, they were welcome to get a hot meal, a haircut and a series of other supplies and resources.

Tim Krolsek, an unhoused man who got his hair cut, said he enjoyed going to the event and the chance it allowed him to form a connection with people in the community.

“It was really a good experience,” Krolsek said. “It’s really great that people are here and doing this.”

The event was part of several neighborhood organizations’ continuing efforts to care for unhoused neighbors, including the Como Cares team, Dinkytown Unsheltered Neighbors, several churches in the area and more.

Organizers said despite the sparse turnout, the fact that they could help anyone made the event a success.

“We weren’t sure if we would get two people or 40 people,” said organizer Lynette Lamb, a member of University Lutheran Church of Hope. “We just want all the neighbors in Dinkytown to know we’re here and that we have resources to help — that it’s not just this day.”

Organizations throughout the city — such as Arvonne Fraser Library, the Aliveness Project and more — also provided support with additional services or volunteers for the event. Raising Cane’s offered the meals.

The Red Chair Project, a nonprofit organization that gives free haircuts to unsheltered people across the Twin Cities, provided hair cutting services at the event. Project founder Katie Steller said events like this are important to her because she has found that providing human connection to unhoused people is often as important as meals or money.

“When you have the ability to give, it’s a responsibility to give,” she said. “Whether that is a smile or whether that is saying hello to somebody to bridge the gaps of difference. We have to start somewhere.”

Organizers said Drop-in Day was a prototype event for future collaborations, adding that they are actively considering more frequent events with better outreach and adding portable showers and long-term storage options.

“What I’ll say is this is pretty dope,” unhoused community member Remi said. “We all need to take responsibility to help each other out.”

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