Free haircuts to those in need now part of the Indy Love Train

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Summer Hudson says she’s a hairdresser.

But she’s really more of a listener. A listener who provides free haircuts to those in need.

She listened to one man’s story about his visits to the VA hospital. She listened to another woman brag about her grandkids and complain about Donald Trump.

“He isn’t going to be president. He needs to sit down and put eggs in his shoes and beat it,” the woman said.

Still other stories were harder to hear, like that of Idessa Pruitt, who said she’s doing well, but had escaped a bad relationship.

“He was on drugs real bad and he (overdosed). He wasn’t going to get any help,” Pruitt said.

Hudson listened to more than a half dozen eager new clients, their stories and how they wanted their hair to look. For many of them, it was their first haircut in months. For most of them – who were either homeless at one time or are now on a fixed income – it was an opportunity to save money.

“I live in an apartment where you have bills and rent, and when you pay that, you don’t have much left,” Pruitt said.

Hudson cut all of their hair for free.

“I love the people. I love meeting people and being able to give back,” Hudson said.

It’s something she started in 2009 when she lived in Florida and has attempted to continue since she moving to Indianapolis roughly two years ago.

“I’m on disability, so every little bit helps,” said Marion Dinkins, who was second in line to get his haircut.

But Hudson says her effort to provide free haircuts for those in need hasn’t always been welcomed. Plans to offer free haircuts to the homeless at a certain Indianapolis park, she says, were met with criticism on social media. Her attempt to do the same thing on Monument Circle was thwarted after she learned she would need a special permit from the city.

“I just feel like a lot of people do a lot of complaining in the world and nobody is ever the solution. I have a skill, so why wouldn’t I use it to help other people,” Hudson said.

Hudson, who carries her cosmetology license and supplies with her when she offers free haircuts, only recently found a location to provide her service as part of the Indy Love Train. Organizers of the volunteer group say they too ran into permitting issues while trying to feed the homeless several years ago. The group has since found a permanent location at the Unity Church at 9th Street and Delaware Street in downtown Indianapolis. For the past three years, the group has offered hot meals and clothing to those in need every third Saturday of the month.

“I (enjoy) just the opportunity to give back, to make a difference for someone else and to make sure they are care about and loved,” said Kristi Vigliaturo, an Indy Love Train volunteer.

For nearly three hours, Hudson laughed, listened and talked about her upcoming wedding, which her new clients were eager to learn about. All thanked Hudson afterward and said they were pleased with the results of her services.

More information about the group can be found on Facebook by searching for “Indy Love Train.”

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