Hair by Ahsile: Giving back – A MLK Day of Service project

BY MARCY PALMERI, Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG – Brenda Gilbert, owner of Hair by Ahsile, is no stranger to giving back to the community. Every three months for the last nine years, Hair by Ahsile has offered free personal care services to the homeless.

It’s no wonder that for the last two years she has participated in the MLK Day of Service, with this year being no different.

This St. Pete native is one of 15 siblings and a graduate of Boca Ciega High School. As long as she can remember she has wanted to help people, so when Gilbert turned 18 she became a certified nursing assistant and to this day remains active in that field.

On the actual MLK Day of Service, Mon., Jan 19 from 9 – 3 p.m., Gilbert, along with her 14 siblings and volunteers, will provide toiletry items, clothes, snacks and select services at no cost to those in need such as homeless veterans, families in shelters and anyone else who needs a hand up.

“I sent out flyers to all homeless shelters in the area. We will even pick up people with our van who have no mode of transportation,” said Gilbert.

Hair by Ahsile, located at 844 49th St. N., St. Petersburg, is a full service beauty salon where she has been meeting the needs of the community since 1993 by offering services such as shampoos, cuts, perms, relaxers, braids and more.

HairThe salon employs two stylists and does not subcontract in order to keep the quality consistent and up to her standards. Gilbert also seeks clients who are homebound or are in need of other assistance.

Last year, 50 people volunteered to help throughout the day. “The more the merrier,” said Gilbert as she’s expecting quite a few clients this year.

Manicuring nails and creating buns for women are among the most common services offered. In the interest of time, no braids or pedicures will be performed on the day of service.

Donations toward making this event successful would be much appreciated. Shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other toiletries will help meet the needs of her clients.

Gilbert isn’t the type of person who asks for help, but her barber chairs are in dire need of replacement. If anyone is aware of newer or gently used barber chairs, please contact her at her shop at (727) 322-6060.

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