CHRISTMAS GIVE-A-WAY
Herald & Review/Sheila Smith Walter Woodland, left, helps take out a box of food for Jesse Vanvolkenburg, right, during the Christmas giveaway at Freestylzz Unlimited Barber Shop. Chris Young, center, also helps. SHEILA SMITH

DECATUR - A local barber has seen tough times for many this year and offered a helping hand this Christmas season.

People were waiting in line before Michael Young even opened his Freestylzz Unlimited Barber Shop off West Harrison Street on Saturday morning, as he gave out free boxes of food, coats and other items to those in the surrounding neighborhood area.

Most of them came from the Harrison Community Trailer Park across the street from the barber shop.

"I wanted to do something for the community because they allowed me to have my business here," said Young, who opened his shop in April. "I thank God for this opportunity to be able to help people who can't afford certain things."

Young also worked with Teen Challenge, which donated the food that came from a food pantry, and gathered new coats from the Steve & Barry store that closed at Hickory Point Mall.

Walter Woodland, who was helping out the barber shop, loaded a box of food into the back of a pickup truck for Pearl Bunch.

"It's nice that they are doing this. Every little bit helps," Bunch said. "Some people overseas don't have anything, so we should consider ourselves blessed."

Jesse Vanvolkenburg also picked up his box of food. He is struggling and has been unemployed.

"It's nice to know there are still good people in this world," he said.

Tray Raids said he just got laid off from his job two weeks ago, and things are getting pretty tight. He picked up a box of food for his wife and three children.

"It's a lovely thing they are doing, and you can't beat helping the poor. I appreciate it," he said.

Brandy Brown also was at the barber shop giving away stress cell phones, hand sanitizers, yo-yo's and other items from Let's Talk Drug Free Community Coalition, as well as literature from CeaseFire.

She added how this is a high time for young people wanting to drink and do drugs over the holidays because they are not in school. She said they are sending out a message against drugs and providing a phone number to Let's Talk listed on all the give-a-way items.

"Drugs are taking a toll on our kids," she told those who strolled into the barber shop.

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