NJ.COM: Salon, community help raise funds for Florence family

PHOTOEarly Sunday morning, 12-year-old Samantha Horne diligently set up a table in front of Create Yourself Salon & Spa with a mission: to sell out the inventory of cupcakes from her aspiring company, Sammi Sugary Sweets.

Samantha, however, isn’t eating her own profits. The charitable Hamilton pre-teen was baking for a cause, participating in the Allentown salon’s annual Cut-A-Thon to raise money to benefit a neighbor in need.

The event, held Oct. 18, benefited the family of Thomas Floyd Jr., a Florence resident who was diagnosed with Leukemia this past January. The 34-year-old father of three is the sole provider for his wife, Justine, and three girls, Gianna, 7, Adelina, 4, and Veronica, 2. He is currently undergoing treatment, and is unable to work.

Samantha, a young philanthropist, regularly creates cakes and cupcakes as a way to donate funds to her chosen charity, Wigs for Kids. According to her mother, Patricia, the Reynolds Middle School seventh grader sent the organization a check for $1,800 earned from her bake sales.

Samantha said she heard about the Floyd family’s plight from one of the stylists, and was motivated to help during the event. She was encouraged to buy a table for $25 to sell her goods, and then went one step further donating all of her sales toward the cause. She baked all week, and came prepared.

“I had a couple of different kinds of cupcakes, and I made a bunch for younger kids because I was expecting them to be here for haircuts and things like that,” she said of her sweet treats, which included “Frozen” themed cupcakes. “I tried to make fall flavors too, like some apple ones. And I made peanut butter cupcakes, and tried things that I thought people would like.”

She came to the event with 165 baked goods loaded with her secret ingredients: chocolate and “a lot of good flavors.” She sold 150 for $1 apiece.

“I got a few donations from some people too,” she said.

That money came in handy – between her sales and haircuts at the salon, the day pulled in $2,200 for the family, according to salon owner Nicole Schoen.

To achieve the goal, the salon charged $25 for haircuts, $10 for brow shaping and hosted a gift basket auction with items donated from vendors around the community.

Bidders bought raffle tickets to win goodies like Lottery Tickets, AMC Movie passes, dinner at Chiles, wine baskets, beauty items and an autographed football signed by former New York Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet.

Schoen’s daughters, Layla and Izzy, sold hot chocolate at their own table for $1 a cup.

Hamilton resident Michelle Balsalmides, a stylist at the salon, personally suggested the Floyd family to Schoen’s for this year’s cut-a-thon.

“Justine was my college roommate and we have been best friends ever since. It’s been about ten years now,” she said. “They definitely need the help. They are such a great family, and I brought it up to my boss and she thought it was a great idea.”

Schoen said that she was moved by Balsamides’ story.

“Every year we do a cut-a-thon for a different charity or somebody in need. Michelle is one of my stylists and she is really close with the family,” she said. “She brought them to my attention that they could use some help.”

Schoen said the salon is always willing to reach out to assist the community any way they can. All of Sunday’s proceeds will be donated to the Floyd family to help with hospital bills or daily expenses.

“Every year we pick something,” she said. “Last year we did a local animal rescue group. We had an adoption day outside with puppies and then we did about $3,000. This year is a little smaller. We are hoping we come close. ”

The family could not attend because Floyd was scheduled for a bone marrow transplant, but Balsamides said they have been “overwhelmed” by the salon’s kindness.

“They are so grateful that so many friends and family are there for them and helping them out and praying for them every day,” she said. “Every little bit helps.”

Create Yourself Salon & Spa is located at 1278 Yardville-Allentown Road, Allentown.