Church: Fridley UMC
District: Twin Cities
Submitted by: Kate Smith-Sheeder
Family Table at Fridley UMC has been serving a free meal one Saturday a month since October 2008. This ministry of food and friendship served its 4,000th meal in June 2011. The leadership team with the aid of the parish nurse was looking into other services that could be provided when Mary Ann Neu volunteered her time and skills for free haircuts. Mary Ann is a professional beautician of 52 years and provides all the supplies. About fifteen haircuts are done during the two hour window of the meal. An appointment keeper finds the next guests on the list as the waiting line goes down.
Mary Ann has a great sense of fun and a gift for making people comfortable. “I love my work, and I just want to be able to help others,” she says. Our guests feel outstanding after her care. One female guest had been cutting her husband’s hair as well as her own for ten years. At first, only her husband was going to get a trim, but while MaryAnn worked on him, she decided to have one too. In August, school supplies are given out to kids who are present, and that drew some extended families and extra friends. Lots of kids got great back to school haircuts that fit their own personalities and styles, even one mohawk! It’s clear that Mary Ann loves her work, and loves to share her gifts.
Many volunteers share their gifts of hospitality, generosity, and service through this ministry. Paying attention to the gifts and talents of members and the needs of the guests has allowed us to serve our neighbors in more ways.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church