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North Philadelphia neighbors get food, haircuts, work opportunities at giveaway event

Food giveaway in North Philadelphia offers life-changing opportunities
Food giveaway in North Philadelphia offers life-changing opportunities 02:03

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Neighbors found free food and much-needed services at a food giveaway Friday. 

"This location is actually named Margaret Wells Way. That's my mama's name," said Mel Wells, President and CEO of One Day at a Time. 

Mel carried on Margaret's legacy of caring for the community Friday. At the intersection of 16th and York Streets in North Philadelphia, he had food trucks lined up to make sure everyone was fed for free. However, Mel also wanted to make sure neighbors were empowered for the future. 

"We actually hired 38 people today to do same day pay work and they will receive $100 apiece."

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Mel said those employees would also get resume help to find permanent work. He also offered free hair styling from the Empowering Cuts mobile barbershop. Clients found more than a fresh cut. 

"They do some type of counseling services as well," Mel said. "And so, that's why I bring them right here on the block and they connect [clients] with me and we get them a permanent job or get them off the streets and get a bed for the night." 

"I come to all of their events," said Joshua Santiago, owner of Empowering Cuts.  

"It's not just about the haircut, it's also about getting to know the individual for who the individual is and just making the person feel good about themself." 

Elizabeth Geter of North Philadelphia was also at the event. She found a seat and a plate. She said she felt good about the food, the family atmosphere, and the opportunities. 

"Housing can come of it. A new job can come of it. Certain people come meet you out here can become of it. So, it's not just an event for eating." 

Mel said this is just another day of service in North Philadelphia and that his parents, including the founder of One Day at a Time Rev. Henry T. Wells, would be proud. 

"Mama Wells Margaret and Rev. Wells is always with us because we are going to keep their spirits alive," he said.

Organizers say they are just getting started for their holiday season and are planning another huge giveaway at Dobbins High School just before Christmas.

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