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Tampa beauty salon owner helping moms, kids in need with haircuts and back-to-school supplies

Giving Hands needs volunteers and donations
Posted at 4:30 AM, Jul 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-17 10:17:43-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Vanessa Howard struggled with homelessness, suicidal thoughts, three kids and an uncertain future.

“I had about $1.75 to my name,” Howard says.

Just when things were at their bleakest, a kind landlord made an otherworldly gesture. Vanessa gets choked up every time she tells this part. She had nothing. And yet...

“He said, ‘I don’t know you, young lady. But when you walked in, I heard a voice say give her this apartment.’” says Howard.

Vanessa has never forgotten the kindness that pulled her out of the depths. She and her five daughters never stopped paying the generosity forward. 

Howard is now a successful business owner in Tampa. She uses her Giving Hands Beauty Salon to help hundreds of struggling Tampa Bay area families. Over the years she has reached out to women dealing with financial struggles, illness and domestic abuse 

Vanessa will host her biggest event yet on August 5: a back-to-school celebration for 50 boys and girls from families who could use a boost. She is going to help with back-to-school supplies, clothes, and haircuts -- things that can bust a budget for low-income families.

“I let them know there is hope," said Howard. "There is light at the end of the tunnel.”

The event will be held at the YMCA at 8950 W. Waters Ave in Tampa.

Volunteers and donations are welcome. To learn how you can help Vanessa give back to the community, visit