What started as an Instagram post to get the community together to donate, has turned into a “farmers market” type of experience for South Floridians in need of a little pick me up. It’s called The Miami Give Back (TMGB) and it happens once a month. Organized by four dedicated barbers and one chef who gather monthly to “give back” to the less fortunate and those struggling with homelessness.
By providing these individuals with haircuts, facial shaves, donated clothing, toiletry items, fresh hot prepared food as well as non-perishables to go, music, prayers, sometimes even showers, they’re giving these human beings a break from their daily struggles to be treated as an equal with no expectation except gratitude and a smile.
“I can say proudly that each and every team member and volunteers of TMGB are leaders and motivators that want to do good in the world and I know for sure that we’ve changed and touched many lives and will continue to do so around the world.” Said co-founder Alex.
The President of TMGB Daniella Gonzalez has always been an advocate for using her hair styling abilities for giving back to her local community of South Florida. Every time she would go visit her Mother in Brickell, she would notice all the homeless and felt compelled to do something. She did some research and purchased an AC adapter for her car. Then she hopped on Instagram and reached out to her followers to test the waters and see who would be willing to help.
To her surprise she got a lot of feed back and a group chat was then created to narrow down who could help and or what could they contribute. Little by little the group message grew small and the ideas grew bigger. Daniella set out one Saturday with a cooler of waters, bags of clothes, and machines ready to go. Not knowing what to expect nor knowing how beautiful one day it would become.
On day one, Rey Zubizaretta and Jean Varela were there with two plastic chairs ready to go. Daniella opened her table, plugged in her extension cord to the car and they got to it. That day they must have cut over 40 homeless’ hair. They were so taken back and so grateful for them coming and asked when they would be coming back. And thus, TMGB was started. The following month they again met in the same spot and Rey brought along his best friend Alex Gonzalez who is now the head barber and boyfriend/partner to Daniella. Read more about their journey in the interview below.
What challenges have you faced so far, and what have you learned?
One of the biggest challenges TGMB faces would be finances to host the events. Every first Saturday of the monthly give backs, each of the barbers miss a full day of work to donate their time to the homeless. TMGB’s chef Sue Severe purchases all the food, snacks, and drinks and also makes each item from Steak, Chicken, Macaroni and cheese, Mashed potatoes, green beans, fresh cookies, and homemade juice. TMGB has had the pleasure of having others such as The God Squad Nation and Lifestyle Miami donate and bring out a local shower bus where the homeless can take a hot private shower during the TMGB. Another challenge TMGB faces is not being able to be in a safer location to host the monthly give backs. A place where everyone is safe and the authorities cannot ask them to move onto the streets.
How do you see this evolving?
The goal of the TMGB is to obtain multiple mobile “barber shops” that would have shower access nationally to continue with the “look good, feel good” concept to help clean up the streets of America and motivate the homeless to do better and try harder.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Best advice I would say is to never give up and send direct messages and emails to everyone you think can help you grow your business and help the mission. The worst things that can happen is a ‘No thank you” or no answer at all. And in that case, move onto the next one. Because of reaching out TMGB has got an interview on power 96.5 radio,channel 7 WSVN news, and VoyageMia.com.
What is your favorite quote?
“At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished… it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.” ― Denzel Washington
Like what you’ve read and want to support? Follow The Miami Give Back on Instagram, reach out the them there, or cashapp funds directly to $themiamigiveback.