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Kids get free backpacks, haircuts ahead of new school year

Dozens of students receive fresh haircuts, school supplies, and perhaps a boost of confidence.

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. — When you look good, you feel good. 

Kids across the metro are getting ready for school with free haircuts from professional barbers and hair stylists.

They set up in Ainsworth Park Thursday. So did a DJ. And a catering company. And more volunteers, who handed out free backpacks stuffed with both school supplies and personal care items such as underwear and socks.

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It was a new event made possible due to a number of businesses, organizations, and individuals, including former Gopher football player Kyle Skye.

The St. Louis Park Police Department served as a donation drop-off site leading up to the day.

"Everything kept flooding in and pretty soon the police department was full of backpacks and school supplies and it was really awesome," Officer Chaunté Ford said. "We're super blessed."

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Chopped & Served was the catering company providing the food.

Its founder, Imani Jackson, believes kids need to feel prepared for school in order to succeed in school.

But because not every family is able to provide the essentials, many students walk into the new year without the confidence they deserve.

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Credit: Copped & Served
The flyer for Friday's Back to School event.

"They don't know where they're going to sleep at night," Jackson said. "They might not have the same resources other kids will have. They'll get ridiculed. They'll get laughed at because they weren't fully prepared. They didn't have the resources to get prepared. So hopefully our outcome and our turnout will get those kids motivated. Give them hope. Let them understand that they're not alone. We're here to help. We believe in them."