Hairdresser by day and in her spare time, Merina Gray, along with a group of volunteers, give hope and help to the homeless in Orlando.

  • Merina Gray is a hairdresser who gives cuts to homeless
  • She and her group also help with food and clothes
  • She would eventually like to have a permanent place

On her feet all day long in her shop making others feel pampered, she still finds the time to make sure that those less fortunate do not feel forgotten.

The sun shines through the trees on a hot day in Orlando and people gathered around Gray's van. No money is exchanged, but people in need are able to receive clothes, shoes, food and haircuts.

In return, hugs are given to those doing the giving.

Even with her husband who can no longer work because of a stroke, she was asked why she helps the homeless.

"They're people," she answered. "We make sure they're loved and wanted, because it's not a great feeling to be out there.

Gray said she has seen people digging in the trash and nobody does anything about it. It just breaks her heart.

However, there is one thing she really wants people to understand about the homeless.

"They're not all bums. That they're not all alcoholics. They're not all drug addicts. They're people with just bad circumstances."

Her journey started about 10 months ago with just two friends and a van. Along the way, a Christian moving company volunteered and a church joined up. Her clients contribute, people started to donate, and even though she does not want it known, Gray contributes some of her own money.

But she has big dreams.

"I'd like to get bigger. I'd like to have a place. I'd like to have a homeless hub where they can come and wash their clothes, put their stuff in lockers and not carry it all day. Help them fill out their ID's, their social security cards (and) just a home base," she said.

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