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Monday, November 28, 2022
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For his bar mitzvah project, Caleb Rosenfeld founded Cutting It With Caleb, an initiative to encourage people to grow and donate their hair. Four years later, the project remains strong, with over 2,150 inches of hair donated to charitable organizations since the project’s inception.

Rosenfeld founded Cutting It With Caleb as a way to make volunteering more accessible to kids. For young children, it can be difficult to find volunteer opportunities. What drew him to hair donating is that it’s something you can do at virtually any age. Plus, the simple act goes a long way.

“You’re literally giving a part of yourself to somebody else,” Rosenfeld explained.

The first time he decided to donate his hair, in third grade, it was for Ramaz’s annual hair drive. Rosenfeld already had long blonde hair, and someone suggested he grow it out even longer to reach eight inches—the minimum length hair must be to donate it.

“It was me and 10 girls who donated,” he recalled.

When it was time to initiate a bar mitzvah project, Rosenfeld reached out to his school in order to become more involved with their annual hair drive.

In the first year, Cutting It With Caleb collected over 1,000 inches of hair. Rosenfeld’s bar mitzvah took place in Israel and on their El Al flight, the Rosenfeld family brought an extra bag filled with the 1,366.5 inches of donated hair.

“Yeah, security liked that one,” he joked.

Rosenfeld donated the hair to Zichron Menachem, a cancer center for kids and their families.

Now a junior at Ramaz, Rosenfeld has donated hair four times since his first time: fourth grade, fifth grade, seventh grade and 11th grade.

“My hair is slowing down,” the Manhattan native said, adding that he still plans on donating his hair at least one more time before he graduates.

Cutting It with Caleb helps make wigs and other hair accessories more available to children with hair loss. “It can take minimally 10 donated ponytails to make just one wig… After all the hair is collected, a wig can take six months to complete and is often prohibitively expensive,” the website states. By partnering with different organizations, like Hair We Share and Children With Hair Loss, these wigs are provided to children—often kids with cancer and alopecia—at no cost to them.

The process to donate hair with Cutting It With Caleb is very simple. After connecting through the organization’s website or email, a donor has the option to go to their local hairdresser or barber shop, or to Eli’s Hair Design in Manhattan’s Upper East Side where haircuts are free for those who plan to donate. After the haircut, Rosenfeld will work with each person to get the hair (which is generally cut in a ponytail) to one of the partnered charitable organizations. Through Rosenfeld’s partnered organizations, the donated hair becomes wigs or hats with hair attached designed for children with hair loss.

To spread the word, Rosenfeld appoints ambassadors at different schools in the tri-state area to speak to their class about the mission. Rosenfeld himself speaks at Ramaz and other schools.

Although the pandemic slowed down donations at first, Rosenfeld realized this was a great time for people to grow out their hair. “When people couldn’t get haircuts, they were already halfway there,” he said.

Most haircut places are now open, making it easy for people to donate once again. “Anyone can do it,” he said. “And it can really change somebody’s life.”

To learn more about Cutting It With Caleb, visit www.cuttingitwithcaleb.com.

By Ayelet Ehrenkranz

 

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