Lynchburg Barber Shop Offers Support for Struggling Families
LYNCHBURG, Va. – When Ted & Ted’s Barber Shoppe opened in Lynchburg five years ago, Ted Jennings Sr. said the goal was to provide barbers with a space to get a clean cut and get a healthy start in life.
“Some of them got in trouble, locked up [in prison]; but I promised to help them get their [barber] permits and help get them on the right track to show them that they don’t have to be on the streets to make money. They can make money the right way,” said Jennings Sr.
But lately, making money isn’t the biggest concern.
Jennings Sr. said most of his barbers are single or joint-custody dads, so you can find nearly two dozen kids in the store just about every day.
“It brought me to tears because you would hardly ever see young men taking on the responsibility of bringing their kids to work just because they have no one to watch them,” Jennings Sr said.
Jennings Sr. is a father himself and said, along with his wife, they have fostered more than 40 children and adopted nine.
They are now creating a child care center next to the hair salon, where employees and customers can get affordable help.
Jennings Sr. said the state endorsement program for infants is expected to start next month, and then he has future plans for children three and older.
Barber Donte Lewis said he brings his three children to work all the time and is grateful for the support.
” That says everything. I need to be able to earn money and have my kids here in a good home environment,” Lewis said.
Jennings Sr. is also bringing that family environment into the community by partnering with One Community, One Voice to give kids free haircuts during a special back-to-school event on Saturday.
The shop will then offer free haircuts for kids at their own event on August 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“A haircut sometimes changes a child’s life. It’s not about the money, it’s just a haircut with a simple conversation [to] lead them in the right direction,” said Ted Jennings Jr.
The Jennings family hopes this will encourage Lynchburg families.
“It makes me feel good that we are doing something to help these families stay connected,” Jennings Sr.
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