People helping people.
CareCuts is the brainchild of Martha “Marti” LaRue Baker, owner of Salon LaRue. A Knoxville native, Marti has been a barber, stylist, and instructor for over 30 years. After joining Maxine Raines and the Lost Sheep Ministry, Marti’s dream to help those in need continued to grow, so she set out to help restore people’s dignity by cutting their hair and providing grooming services. From this dream, CareCuts was born and began serving the homeless community in April of 2016.
In the beginning, Marti secured volunteers from among her clientele and church family. When considering a location, her first call was to the school she attended to become a licensed barber in the Happy Holler area of Knoxville. Though the facility was more than a mile away from the area the homeless congregated, they still came in wheelchairs, on canes, and carrying their children. Unfortunately, this long-existing school closed its doors only four months into hosting CareCuts’ monthly mission event.
The day the volunteers were told that CareCuts itself was now homeless, volunteer stylist Michael Layne of Belleza Salon reached out to his friend and fellow stylist Jeremy Wann. Jeremy, owner of GEO Hair Lab, met with Marti and a few other volunteers to discuss CareCuts before graciously offering to host the monthly event in his stunning, modern salon. It’s clear that God had a plan for CareCuts all along because, thanks to Jeremy and the volunteers, the ministry never missed a beat. The new location is only half a block away from the local Salvation Army, KARM, and Volunteer Ministries – critical resources for the homeless. GEO Hair Lab has hosted CareCuts on the first Sunday of every month since August of 2016.
Since its launch CareCuts has grown leaps and bounds and we’ve added many new services in addition to just grooming/personal hygiene needs including: Registered nurses, Licensed Social Workers, Christian Social Workers, Personal Mentoring, SSI Disability, Lions Club, Blount Hearing and Speech, Drug and Alcohol Licensed Counsellors, Veterans of Knoxville, and supported in part by local churches, including Asbury UMC, Faith Promise, Central Baptist Church of Bearden, Cokesbury Church. Also partnering with State Of Tennessee Department of Corrections/Probation, Kickstand Ministry, First Baptist Church of Downtown Knoxville Food Co-op, Epperson Ministry, The Mend House, Never Alone, True Purpose Men and more men’s and women’s Sober Living Ministry Programs! CareCuts is growing and we are looking forward to see how far it can go.