In lieu of money, some students choose to share their hair

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Even in recession, Locks of Love kept alive by plentiful donations

By Katie Norman
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Donations for the charity Locks of Love have not fallen due to the economic recession even though many other charity donations have. Junior Jessica Novitski has donated twice to the charity Locks of Love and said the reason the organization is so successful is because the donation in hair makes it easy for people to feel as though they are sacrificing and doing their part without having to ask for money.

“It’s a more tangible method of donating than money, plus it makes you feel more connected to the people you are donating to,” she said.

Many of the more well known charities ask for money to help pay for a good cause, but with this year’s economic recession, tight budgets may not allow for a lot of their donations to come through.
Some charities have found different ways for people to contribute that do not involve donating money. One such charity, Locks of Love, asks for hair. And while other charities have suffered along with the economic downturn, the New York Times reported that Locks of Love still has plenty of hair donations to go around, even having to throw some donations away from the surplus.

Junior Akshatha Sridhar has also donated to Locks of Love, and said she also believes in the benefit of donating hair instead of money.

“Even if people don’t have money they can donate to a good cause as well as helping somebody with cancer by donating something they will be cutting off anyway,” she said.
Still, not everyone can donate. Locks of Love has strict standards for its donated hair.

To make the prosthetics, the hair has to be a certain length and have a certain history before it can be used. Bleached hair, dreadlocks, hair that is shorter than requirements and even heat-damaged hair will not be used to make the prosthetics.

HALFWAY THERE: Junior Jessica Novitski poses with her hair half long, half short as it is being cut for Locks of Love. Students opt to donate their hair instead of money, especially with the current recession.  JESSICA NOVITSKI / SUBMITTED PHOTO
HALFWAY THERE: Junior Jessica Novitski poses with her hair half long, half short as it is being cut for Locks of Love. Students opt to donate their hair instead of money, especially with the current recession. JESSICA NOVITSKI / SUBMITTED PHOTO

Some people like junior Audrey Oliger, who said she has been personally affected by cancer in a family friend, decided not to donate because her hair was not long enough for the Locks of Love standard of at least 10 inches.

“My hair has never been long enough for me to comfortably cut off that much hair,” Oliger said.

Oliger said she thinks fewer people contribute because it’s harder to give, but at the same time it’s so unique and personal that people are naturally drawn to it as a way to donate.

Novitski said she0 believes that giving her ponytail is a small price to pay for the chance of normalcy that would be offered for someone who has lost their hair to cancer, one of the more emotionally costly eventualities for cancer patients.

“The donation itself meant more to me than any dollar I ever gave to a charity. Besides, I wasn’t using all that hair for anything and I understood how much looking normal could make one feel more normal,” she said. “So I donated.”

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