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Woman on mission to collect backpacks

June 20, 2013
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

A Lehigh Acres woman has come up with a brainstorm and plans on putting an ideal to work that will provide, she hopes, all the students returning to school in Lehigh in August, getting a free book bag.

Rene Gaston, a hair stylist who owns Soltice Hair Studio at 1000 Lee Blvd. and works on people's hair at another location, Fresh Cuts at 5612 Lee Blvd., said helping youngsters is something that she wants to do.

"It's expensive today when parents have to buy new book bags and all the school supplies the schools require for their children," she said. "Times are hard for a lot of people here and I thought this may help since there are never enough book bags each year for all the kids who need them."

Article Photos

Hair stylist Rene Gaston at her work station, where she cuts and styles hair at Fresh Cuts at 5612 Lee Blvd. She also owns Solstice Hair Studio, located at 1000 Lee Blvd.

Book bags are also given away by an agency in Lehigh which gets them from a church, but there are often not enough to give to ever student needing one.

"I would like for our residents here in Lehigh to buy a book bag and fill it with school supplies so many more students can get book bags before school starts.

"And I am going to offer free haircuts on the Sunday before school opens. That's my person gift to the kids," she said.

While the date for the giveaway is not yet definite, she said the book bag and school supplies will be given away at the Microtel Inn & Suites on Business Way in Lehigh.

"Tell folks to call me at 239-243-2075 and I will advise them where they can take the book bags," she said. "And I will list the giveaway date later."

"And for those free haircuts just before school reopens, they can call me at 369-4247 to set up a time. It will probably be on Sunday before the opening of school," she said.

Gaston is the woman responsible for the "Men's Day Wednesday $5 haircut in Lehigh.

"Yeah, that was me; I started it here."

Gaston is a single woman who likes to work with kids. She has been a mentor and is working to come up with ideas for things to do for children in Lehigh.

"Yes I know there are things like summer camp, but that cost money and not a lot of families have enough in this economy. I just want to find other ways that kids here can have fun," she said.

"I think a volunteer program to help our kids in town to be able to find things to do would be a great idea. Just building a tennis court or something without a volunteer is not enough."

What is her goal in collecting book bags?

"I'd love to see Lehigh residents who have the money and the desire to help others come up with a couple of hundred. The need is there; we all know that.

"You can go to Walmart and see the lists of items that each school in Lehigh requires and you can go online, too, to find those items needed to return to school," she said.

"We can really do something for our children here in Lehigh. I know others are helping, but not all the kids that need help are able to get it. Many of their parents don't have jobs and little money for school supplies. I know there is a need out there and I know that the good people of Lehigh can help out and I trust that they will. Just call me and let me know you will help," she said.



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