Philadelphia barber offering free cuts to those who have fallen on hard times

ByAshley Johnson WPVI logo
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Philadelphia barber offering free cuts to those who have fallen on hard times
A local barber is cutting a trail of kindness on the streets of Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Joshua Santiago from Philadelphia's Mayfair section lives for making someone's day a little brighter. He isn't about just offering a shape up, it's an empowering cut, a gift from the heart for those who have fallen on hard times: homeless men, veterans and children.

"Besides the free haircuts, we're connecting with these individuals, we're building relationships," Santiago said.

Santiago started his nonprofit Empowering Cuts back in 2017 and has so far given out more than 7,500 free haircuts.

The professional barber does Uber to earn a living and then hits the streets of Philadelphia cutting hair pretty much every day.

"My barber used to take us to shelters, that's how we learned how to cut hair. And for me, honestly, being able to provide a free haircut to somebody that couldn't afford it meant more to me than to actually receive money for it," Santiago said.

A little over a month ago, Santiago created a GoFundMe page called Empowering Cuts to raise money for an RV that he could transform into a mobile barbershop. He exceeded his goal, raising more than $25,000.

"With the RV we'll be able to cut when it's snowing outside, when it's raining outside and all that good stuff," he said.

Empowering Cuts anticipates having their new and improved RV up by early next year. Santiago wants to travel across the country, blessing those in need with a free haircut. Taking his mission on the road will be a first for him.

"A lot of times when they get out of the chair they are crying. You got a lot of people saying 'I want to sign myself into recovery right now,'" Santiago said.