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A hair cut to start off the school year right

Saturday - 8/3/2013, 6:51am  ET

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A sign inside a Hair Cuttery salon in Shirlington, Va., advertises a program to help needy children get free haircuts before the start of the new school year. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
SHIRLINGTON, Va. - It means a lot for kids to fit in at school especially on that first day back when students sport new cloths, new backpacks and often a new haircut. But for low income students, the first day of school doesn't necessarily mean a new pair of shoes or a fresh cut.

That's where "Share-a-Haircut" program steps in. The program gives needy kids, ages 18 years old and younger, a free haircut for that all-important, first day of school.

"If you bring your child into any Hair Cuttery across the nation to get a haircut during the month of August, we will donate one haircut to a child in need," says Diane Daly, community relations director for Virginia-based Hair Cuttery.

This is the 14th year for the program. She says Hair Cuttery expects to donate more than 100,000 back-to-school cuts this year.

"Every kid needs to feel good, confident. Sort of be set up for success when they're going back to school," Daly says.

The average family spends $668 on back-to-school purchases, according to the National Retail Federation.

And Kathy Hughes thinks the "Share-a-Haircut" program is a big deal for families who can't afford a back-to-school spending spree.

"It's all part of the image of feeling right, of fitting in and being set for a good classroom experience for the entire year," Hughes says, whose grandchildren get their hair cut at a Hair Cuttery in Shirlington, Va.

She saw the sign advertising the program at the salon. But she didn't know what the program was all about, Hughes says.

Daly says after all the haircuts are tallied for the month of August, then vouchers will be given to needy families.

In the D.C. region, they will be passed out through partners like the Arlington County Department of Human Services and other social agencies that work with needy children, Daly says.

If your kid doesn't need a haircut, or you don't have a child, and you just want to help out, you can head to Hair Cuttery's Facebook page.

Since 1999, Hair Cuttery has donated more than 700,000 free back-to-school haircuts. Daly says the company operates more than 900 salons across the U.S.

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