By Lizzie DeGanga
Felisha Ruehmer of South Carolina was inspired to start giving free haircuts to the homeless after receiving nudges from her friends. “I kept getting tagged in a Facebook video of someone doing street haircuts for the homeless. After being tagged for several months, I decided it must be God’s will,” she said. It was through this one video that 37-year old Ruehmer was inspired to take a bold step.
It all started when she posted a Facebook video asking anyone watching if they would be willing to help give haircuts to their local homeless population. “When I woke up and checked the post, many people had volunteered to help and given ideas about how I could make it come together,” she said.
She was shocked at the number of people willing and ready to support her mission. She never imagined so many people would be willing and ready to support her in this heartfelt endeavor. “I felt like God was calling me to do it so I said I’ll do this if you show me how” she said.
“All of my life, my parents raised me to give back to those less fortunate. There was a blind man that lived right down the road from us and we would often take him dinner before we would eat dinner ourselves. If you see homeless on the street, they’re always looking down. You don’t ever see a homeless person walking with their head held high,” she said. “I want to give people that pride that makes them want to hold their head high and walk tall…and know they’re important. ”So, I started Walking Tall to get out there and give haircuts, as well as give out clothes, food, and toiletries. Some months into it, she created a GoFundMe page to help her overcome the problem of raising funds to support her mission. Ruehmer is also blessed with tremendous volunteer support. With an RV she refurbished into a traveling hair salon for the homeless, she began traveling. To date, she has driven over 1,700 miles across the country and expanded her ministry into other charitable branches.
“My favorite haircut experiences are when I get to go to the veterans hospitals to help some of my favorite people. Veterans make up a huge part of the homeless community and it is very sad. I really enjoy making a difference in their lives. The best part of this experience is knowing that you are making a difference in someone’s life – to see their face light up when they are feeling fresh with a new shower and a brand new haircut! Ready to tackle the world in a whole new way” she said.
Ruehmer wants to remind people that with compassion and time you can serve in your community and impact the lives of others. She stressed on how proud she is to see how much one group of people can accomplish when they have a giving heart.
“It doesn’t even have to be about hair. You can gather your family up on a Sunday after church, bag up some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and just go pass them out, and show people they matter. And give those people who have nothing, something to give them hope and rise above,” she said.
Her future dream is to make the RV into a mobile salon so when people come on board they are more relaxed and have a wonderful experience. Her second dream is to own (she is renting for now) a headquarters that will serve as a soup kitchen, food pantry, laundering services for those who can’t afford to go to laundromat, a place to give free haircuts, hand out clothes and supplies and direct people to jobs. “God-willing, I’d eventually love to have multiple locations offering shelter, haircuts, showers, toiletries, Bibles, food pantries and soup kitchens. Just to be able to go plant seeds of giving back to all the places we haven’t been yet. The possibilities are endless! I won’t give up until everyone knows about Walking Tall and how to make a difference with us!” she said.
She ended by saying: “I go town to town in Gods name and bring volunteers and other stylists to provide free haircuts for the homeless! We give clothes, food, and toiletries as well. Help me make this possible and donate if you can. Look for us in your town! Look at God go!
If you would like to follow Ruehmer’s cause, visit her website: http://www.walkingtall.life.
Lizzie DeGanga is a Dallas based writer.