Bystanders applaud free haircuts for the homeless

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Brennon Jones wanted to do something nice for the homeless.  In the process, he also managed to make a bunch of Philadelphians feel good about their city.

On this bright Wednesday afternoon, Jones, 28, was out giving free haircuts to the homeless at the corner of 8th and Market, along with his fiance Tasha Royal.

As the two clipped and cut, passersby stopped to watch, took photos, occasionally dropped some cash in a cup, offered suggestions on where to go next, and mostly gave compliments.

“This is definitely a good deed,” said Daryl Woods, 38 and a SEPTA supply clerk. “This is better than cool.”

Brennon Jones cuts hair in Center City.

With their clippers hooked up to a lawn-and-garden battery, their supplies in milk crates and their customers seated on an office chair, the two went to work. Any proceeds would go to their customers.

Jones, of West Philadelphia via Chester, has been cutting hair for 10 years. In the last two months, he has been cutting hair for the homeless in Wilmington and Chester, and hopes to keep going until he has hit all 50 states, he said. His other job is working on his own accessory line – Tyed Up Collectionz – of bow ties, neck ties and socks.

“He has a big heart,” said Royal, who helped cut for the first time on Wednesday. She also works as a hair stylist, specializing in hair extensions.

“This is not just any cut,” she added. “He takes his time.”

For William Beyah Edwards, 66, the cut made a world of difference.

“A haircut makes you feel like a different person,” he said, rubbing off some stray trimmings. “Your self-esteem shoots up and you feel like somebody.”

Edwards is caught up in a Catch-22. He needs a hip replacement before he can get back to work in home repairs. Since he wasn’t working, he lost his home. Now the surgery is on hold until he can find a place to live, he said.  

“I seen him cut another guy’s hair and I asked when he was coming back,” he said.  “Today was my day.”

James Market, 48, said he felt about 20 pounds lighter after Royal buzzed off his long locks.

“They are giving back to the community,” he said of the volunteers. “One day when I am right with my situation, I am going to do the same.”

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1 Philadelphia

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