GARLAND — With a hair clipper in hand, Jimmy “Pacman” Packer Jr. had a busy Friday afternoon.
Pacman’s Barbershop on Ingold Avenue was filled with customers waiting to get haircuts. And for barbers, that’s a good thing. In several days, Packer is looking forward to showing his appreciation.
The community barber is hosting a backpack giveaway and back-to-school event for families in the Union District from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, on West Front Street in Garland. A rain date is set for Aug. 26. He’s expecting to distribute between 50 and 75 backpacks.
“We would like for everyone to come join us, have fun and enjoy the atmosphere,” he said.
Through the event, Packer said he would like to show appreciation to his customers, along with parents and children in the Garland area.
“It’s been a blessing to be able to be in Garland,” he said. “I’ve been here six years and they’ve been good. It just seems like the right thing to do — to give back.”
The local businessman expressed how, in a community where a lot of parents are struggling financially, it was important to him to help.
“This is considered a poverty-stricken area and the medium income down here is kind of low,” Packer said. “Any help will be appreciated, so I don’t mind doing it for the kids.”
Last year, Packer held a similar event in front of his shop. This year, he’s expecting a larger crowd, with about 100 people coming out. There will be bouncy house for children and free food will be served.
“It’s going to be on a bigger scale,” he said.
He received a lot of help from community members, assistant barber Joseph Melvin and donations from Anthony Mathis of Mathis Masonry in Warsaw. Before receiving approval from the Garland Board of Commissioners during a recent meeting to use a section of central Garland, town officials applauded his efforts.
“We’re very thankful for this and we know that you’re committed to doing this,” Mayor Winifred Murphy said.
The shop is also looking for more donations for the event. For more information, contact Packer at 910-990-4409. Pacman’s Barbershop is located at 108 S. Ingold Ave., Garland.