KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An update on a ministry helping those experiencing homelessness whose mission was recently cut short. CareCuts is now back to serving people every Sunday.
One of its volunteers credits CareCuts with saving her life. She suffered incredible trauma as a child, turned to drugs after her son died of SIDS, and lived on the streets, was ready to give up, until CareCuts intervened.
Jacqueline Rice heard about CareCuts while living under a bridge in North Knoxville. She came in to get her hair done on a Sunday five years ago, and tearfully remembers today the heartbreaking reason she wanted to look nice.
“The day they opened, I had a noose in a tree in the graveyard,” Jacqueline told us. “I was going to hang myself that day. All I wanted was my hair fixed so my kids would not come and see me a mess and identify my body with my hair looking like it was.
“I was on meth and crack and I drank a whole lot, ” she said, “whatever anybody handed me, I did. I did not want to be in the situation I was in anymore and I just didn’t want to live. I had been homeless at that time, from 2000 to 2015. Paul (from CareCuts) did my hair and talked to me about the prodigal son from the Bible,” she said, “and that day I did not commit suicide and never wanted to again.”
Jacqueline is just one of hundreds of people who came to CareCuts on a Sunday to get a haircut, shower, a meal and fresh clothing, not realizing it’s those basic needs that, when fulfilled, provide hope.
There was concern about CareCuts continuing its mission when the city bulldozed nearby “Tent City” where the homeless gathered, but, according to CareCuts, there’s more to be done.
“The need is still there,” said CareCuts founder Marti Baker. “Those that have moved on have moved on but those that have not and cannot; we want to help them get into KARM, VMC, and Salvation Army and many other programs.”
So, CareCuts is back open every Sunday, and now Jacqueline is there , too, this time giving back as a volunteer.
She is five years drug free. Life is good.
“My two daughters are in my life and I’m so thankful. I get to see my grandbabies, you know? Now I have a job, I own a PT Cruiser, and I also have a home. It can be done,” Jacqueline said with pride.
Yes, about that car: “Yeah, so I’m pretty happy about my car. I call her Lucille,” Jacqueline said, laughing. “So thankful I have a roof over my head and I’m able to pay my own bills.”
“If it weren’t for CareCuts,” she said, “I would be dead today.”
How you can help CareCuts continue its mission
CareCuts is always in need of donations to continue its mission.
For a list of items needed, visit carecutsknox.org