Local families in need will get to savor Thanksgiving thanks to some mohawks and manicures.
Christian Life Fellowship hosted its annual Mohawks for Meals fund-raiser Friday, along with the first-ever Manicures for Meals fund-raiser - initiated so more women could get involved. The proceeds from the fund-raisers will provide Thanksgiving dinners, with all the trimmings, to dozens of families.
"I just wanted to meet a practical need as much as we could," Pastor Michael Fialka, who is in charge of the program, said. "There's families right here in the Cape who can't buy Thanksgiving meals."
Boys and men get their hair cut into mohawks Friday at Christian Life Fellowship for the third annual Mohawks for Meals fund-raiser.
It is the third year that the church has organized Mohawks for Meals.
"We combined the fun of the haircut with the reality of the need," he said.
About a month or so prior to the event, participants start collecting monetary donations from family and friends to cut their hair into a mohawk. The donors can contribute as much as they want.
"Five dollars, $10 - it all adds up," Fialka said. "We have a lot of fun with it."
The day of the event, participants show up at the church to receive their mohawk haircut.
"The haircuts are professionally done by MelXus (Hair Studio)," he said, adding that the Cape salon has donated its services for the fund-raiser all three years. "It's a lot of fun."
Fialka estimated that more than 50 men took part this year.
"It was awesome. We had kids as young as a 9-month-old, all the way up to one of our elders at the church," he said.
For the first-ever Manicures for Meals, women could get their nails done for a donation.
"We wanted to include the ladies," Fialka said, adding that approximately 40 women took part.
"My 3-year-old had it done - she needs her nails painted all the time," he laughed.
Manicurists from a mix of local salons volunteered their time and services.
The church had hoped to raise about $5,000 in donations.
"We'll be close. We were very successful," Fialka said, adding that the funds raised are expected to be double what was raised during last year's fund-raiser. "We've steadily raised more and more."
To identify families in need, Christian Life Fellowship partnered with Trafalgar Middle School. The students are sent home with a form that explains the program, and families can fill it out and return it.
"Last year, we fed over 100 families - that includes the school, that includes some families here at our church, as well," he said, adding that about 80 of the families were identified through the school.
"It was about 490, close to 500, people," Fialka said of the number of people fed.
This year, Patriot Elementary School was added to the program.
Between the two schools, roughly 1,700 children brought home the form.
"It's great. We're able to bless them and give them a meal," he said.
The families receive a 12-pound to 16-pound turkey, corn, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and a dessert. The items are picked up the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The church delivers the meals to families unable to pick them up - there is a box on the form to check.
"I have a team of guys here who would contact them and go and drop the meal off," Fialka said.
Also new this year, the church sent brown paper bags home with the children in its ministry - an estimated 150 to 200 youths. On the bag is a list of items to donate, including toothbrushes and soap.
"Just basic things," he said.
When the families pick up their holiday meal, they will receive the surprise supplies.
"I want to be able to give them more than what they're expecting," Fialka said.
Christian Life Fellowship is at 1200 S.W. 20th Ave.
MelXus Hair Studio is at 909 S.E. 47th Terrace.