Some homeless people recently received new looks, courtesy of a newly-launched Langley non-profit that arranged free appointments with a group of hair stylists.
The Surrey event was the work of the the Infinite Expansion Foundation, founded by Augustino Duminuco, a Langley resident and construction company CEO.
“It’s heart-warming,” Duminuco told the Times.
“When they come in, before they get their hair cut, they’ve got a frown. When they leave, they’re smiling. They just feel better about themselves.”
Duminuco has been informally organizing events to help the needy since 2016.
“It’s a passion of mine,” said, Duminuco, who previously worked with other charitable groups.
Among other things, he has been loading up a van with supplies every two or three weeks to distribute food, clothing and other necessities to homeless people.
Duminuco said the new non-profit organization will work on initiatives to help the less fortunate and low-income families.
The charitable foundation was registered in September and held its first event in mid-October, when it arranged to have a group of hairdressers donate their services to some homeless men and women in Surrey.
About 20 people took advantage of the offer.
Being able to maintain your appearance can be a big morale boost for someone down on their luck, said Duminuco, who has been homeless himself.
“No matter how (messed) up I was, I always had my hair cut,” Duminuco said.
Duminuco has arranged similar makeover events before, in Langley and Vancouver, but this was the first put together by the new foundation.
The foundation is now working on arranging a Christmas dinner for the needy in Langley, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 10.
It will be the second annual “We’re here to help” event after Duminuco organized the first one last year in Vancouver, which fed 200 people.
This year he hopes to bring the event to his hometown.
So far, the foundation has raised more than half of the estimated $15,000 cost, Duminuco said.
It is still looking for a location.
Volunteers and prospective donors can email the foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org .
In a Times profile, Duminuco described how he went from coke, to crack, to crystal meth to heroin — from being a good student to a drop-out, to a drug user and trafficker.
“It consumed my life,” he said.
“I ended up homeless.”
The drugs drove a wedge between Duminuco and his family.
“I put them through hell.”
Duminuco has had three convictions for drug trafficking. His last stay in prison was when things began to change for the better, he said.
Duminuco cleaned up, started studying and when he got out of prison in March 2016, he had a job the next day.
Then, after about 10 months of sobriety, Duminuco went on a two-week bender that ended with a nearly fatal fentanyl overdose.
“I was sober and I relapsed,” he said.
“I was not breathing.”
Paramedics arrived in time with an injection that brought him back.
After that, he said, the trips to help the needy became even more important — a way of reaching out to others who were struggling like he did.