In 2015, Ken Pariser sat in Mackie Colligan’s barber chair in Mackie’s Barbershop, receiving a much-needed haircut. The Milton-based pair caught up with each other, and discussed their sons—both deployed overseas.
“My son was deployed in Afghanistan at the time, and I had just heard on the radio that cities across the country had eliminated Veteran homelessness. I was kind of surprised because Boston wasn’t on that list,” Pariser said. “Thankfully, our sons have a strong family support group, but for other Veterans and Service Members who may not be so fortunate and end up homeless, we wanted to do something to assist them.”
They came up with a Veterans Day Cut-A-Thon: a November event where Colligan would donate $5 from each haircut to an organization of their choice. Colligan and Pariser’s goal was to raise as much money as they could, and they ultimately garnered over $10,000 from haircuts, raffles and donations for Boston Homes for the Brave. Following last year’s success, Mackie and Ken wanted to expand the fundraiser to benefit other organizations aimed at improving the lives of Veterans and their Families.
“A couple of my customers mentioned Home Base. I fell in love with the organization after seeing a Home Base Veteran’s story online. He said how his life felt normal again, and because of Home Base’s services, he’s able to enjoy life after deployment,” Colligan said.
“Everyone I asked about Home Base had positive things to say about the work they do to help Post-9/11 Veterans and Service Members recover from the invisible wounds of war. It was important to me that we support a local organization creating a big impact in the lives of the military community,” she added.
In an effort to grow the success of last year’s Cut-A-Thon, the pair invited additional salons to participate by donating a portion of their proceeds to the cause or raffling items of their own. To date, more than ten shops in the Massachusetts area have committed to Colligan and Pariser’s cause, plus one in Virginia.
Humbled by the cooperation of other salons, the two military parents say they aren’t too surprised by the shared enthusiasm met from local businesses. “Last year, the energy was great all day. People were happy to come down…one kid came down and emptied his piggy bank into his donation jar! It really showed us how much people want to make a difference.”
Even if you don’t need a haircut on November 12, there are many other ways to participate in the Cut-A-Thon. Colligan and Pariser will host raffles at Mackie’s Barbershop, including gift cards from Eastern Massachusetts’ institutions Abby Park, Cagney’s, Lower Mills Tavern, and Stella & Dot to name a few. Additionally, the Freedom Boat Club generously donated an afternoon for eight passengers to climb aboard a boat with a personal captain for four hours on the water.
Regardless of one’s participation in the Cut-A-Thon on November 12, Colligan asserts the event is all about raising much-needed funds for those who give so selflessly for our country.
“Watching the news every day, you can see that Veterans aren’t getting as much help as they need. We’re fortunate in that both of our sons got to come home in one piece. Some aren’t as lucky. We have to do more to help them.”
The following shops and salons are participating in this year’s Veteran’s Day Cut-A-Thon:
- Mackie’s Barbershop – 20 Central Avenue, Milton, MA
- Aidan’s Barbershop – 779 Adams Street, Dorchester Center, MA
- The Milton Barber Shop – 556 Adams Street, Milton, MA
- Yankee Clipper – 243 Church Street, Marshfield, MA
- Roy’s Barber Shop – 102 S. Franking Street, Holbrook, MA
- Modern Barbershop – Hansom Shopping Center, 430 Liberty Street, Hanson, MA
- Massachusetts School of Barbering – 59 Ross Way, Quincy, MA
- South Weymouth Barber Shop – 1173 Adams Street, Dorchester Center, MA
- City Legends Barbershop – 1173 Adams Street, Dorchester Center, MA
- Savvy Hair Gallery – 2612 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Stafford, VA
If you would like to donate to the Veterans Day Cut-A-Thon, please click here.
To become a participating salon, or if you would like to donate raffle items for this event, please contact Mackie Colligan at 617-298-6225 or email email@example.com.