Barber School Holds Annual ’50 Free’ Program

GREENVILLE—Ask Pitt Community College Barber School at Altitude Academy Instructor Rodney Bullock about his program’s annual “50 Free Back-to-School” event, and his response will offer a clear indication of his genuine love for community service.

On Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after he and his students provided 82 free haircuts and backpacks loaded with school supplies to children preparing for a new school year, Bullock was still beaming.

“All in all, it was a marvelous outpouring of affection for the kids and our school,” he said. “We gave away backpacks, paper, pens, pencils and markers; we had so many supplies donated that we had a substantial amount left over.”

Started nine years ago in the wake of a national campaign against bullying, “50 Free” is held the week prior to a new school year in Pitt County. The goal, Bullock says, is to provide at least 50 free haircuts and 50 free backpacks to children in grades K-12, so they can head back to the classroom looking their best.

“We had very happy parents [this year],” Bullock said. “Some left to go find other children to bring back to us. One lady made three trips, with different groups of children in tow.”

Bullock says “50 Free” offers his students ‘real-world’ experience with handling many clients at once. And perhaps more importantly, it shows them the value of giving back to the community.

“We will definitely do this next year,” Bullocks said. “And we’re going to visit the homeless shelter soon to provide free haircuts and donate backpacks and supplies that were left over from ‘50 Free.’”

Bullock says any supplies remaining after the shelter visit will be delivered to Pitt County classrooms.