Hair Donations

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Letter of Thanks

What I’m doing:

I boosted a Facebook post with pictures from the the last year or so of hair donations that I’ve done at the shop.  The response was amazing.  The support for my efforts and the number of “likes” I received was humbling.  The attention I received inspired me to post about Who I send my donations to and why.  What are some of the other charities that help people cope with hair loss.  I had the opportunity to take a donation from a women who’s from the town in India where the majority of “Remy Hair” is from and the history of hair donation there.  It all reminded me of the documentary “Good Hair” produced by Chris Rock.  He was inspired to make the movie when his daughter asked him why they didn’t have good (straight) hair.

Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala, India:

A client called to make an appointment for a hair donation back in Minnetonka.  She had beautiful wavy dark brown hair down to the middle of her back.  She told me she used to donate her hair every year, but now that she’s a little older, her hair doesn’t grow as fast as it used to so now she only donates every other year!  I had just seen the documentary “Good Hair” and was sharing an anecdote about extensions and the Temple in India.  She laughed and said that’s the village she grew up in.  I apologized for my super narrow view, she said don’t worry and told me more about it.

One of the original donation centers is in Tirumala, in Southern India, where roughly 20,000 people a day come to donate their hair.  The origin story goes that Sri Venkateswara wanted a lavish wedding celebration.  In order to finance it, he took out a loan that was so great that followers are still paying it off today.  It’s seen mostly as a sacrifice and as a way of shedding the ego.  The Temple collects 500 tons of hair per year.  The pristine hair is auctioned and sold on the world market for wigs and extensions.  Here is a little snippet from “Good Hair”.

Who I’m sending donations to and why:

I’ve recommended Pantene Beautiful Lengths  because I liked that they only needed 8 inches of hair.  People can donate 4 to 6 months sooner than with other organizations.  Pantene doesn’t charge for their wigs.  PBL has a good record of keeping their administrative costs down and have most of their resources going to women (specifically) in need.  The hair was mailed to a sorting center coincidentally, in Grand Rapids Minnesota where my parents live.  Unfortunately, they are only accepting human hair donations through the end of 2018.  PBL will be providing synthetic wigs in the future.  I’m very sad to hear this.   

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Going Forward:

When I last updated this blog, I decided to go ahead and recommend Locks of Love to my clients.  A beautiful and thoughtful fan on Facebook almost immediately replied “NOOOOOO!”.  My first thought was, Wow, that’s a pretty visceral response, but when I asked some more questions, Brande reminded me about why I didn’t go with LoL in the first place.  They do charge recipients based on their ability to pay.  She pointed out that it’s not fair, that it’s not exactly charitable.  She did some digging and found another charity that fits right in with what the Pantene program provided.  So I’m introducing Children With Hair Loss.

Children With Hair Loss is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that provides human hair replacements at no cost to children and young adults facing medically-related hair loss.

CWHL requires at least 8 inches of hair and it doesn’t matter if it’s color treated or gray, as long as it’s clean and in good condition!

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Other possible Charities:

I’m a fan of  Wigs for Kids.  I’m Facebook friends with the founder Maggie Varney.  She’s a tireless worker in her salon and for the charity.  They have pretty rigorous standards.  They need 12 inches and it must be virgin (no perms, highlights, gray, or color) hair.  I don’t run into that very often, so I’m not sure when I will ever have an opportunity to donate to this wonderful organization.

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Locks of Love.  They need 10 inches of clean hair.  LoL doesn’t mind if the hair is chemically treated (color or perm), but they don’t accept hair that has been bleached (highlighted).  They have a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator.   The application process for a child requires a tax return, so the price is on a sliding scale depending on income.  Locks of Love is the most popular charity for kids with hair related medical issues.

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They’re all great charities.  Let me know when you’re ready for the big chop!

Sarah Kelly

P3 Hair Design

805.324.7950