A fan just got the surprise of a lifetime on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Brittany Starks, a single mom who runs Tennessee-based nonprofit A Twist of Greatness, went viral online after offering to braid children’s hair for free for their first day of school. During Thursday’s episode, Ellen DeGeneres and Meghan asked the unsuspecting Starks to join them onstage.
“Oh, my gosh, Ellen knows my name, and Meghan knows,” the nonprofit founder said once she sat down, barely containing her excitement.
“We were so touched by your story,” Meghan told Starks.
When asked what inspired her to start braiding children’s hair for free, Starks said it all started when a family friend gave her a backpack full of clothes and school supplies.
“At that time, I was in between homes, I didn’t have anything until my next paycheck. So I’m like, ‘How can I give back?'” she answered. “Because I know how that made me feel. So I started braiding hair.”
Meghan joked, “I could’ve used you with my Andie MacDowell haircut.”
Starks said she put the word out through Facebook. “I made a Facebook post asking, ‘Is there anybody who can’t afford to get their child’s hair done that needs the child’s hair done for school?'” she said. “I literally thought it was gonna be five to seven kids, and it turned out to be 35.”
Still, despite working three jobs at the time, Starks said she made time to braid each child’s hair. After launching her nonprofit, which hosts free monthly hair braiding events and also provides a mentor program for children, Starks said that they’ve helped more than 150 kids overall.
DeGeneres surprised Starks with a $20,000 check from the show in partnership with charity gift card company TisBest.
“And that’s not at all,” DeGeneres added. “As soon as Meghan heard about this, Meghan and Harry want to make sure that your charity gets off on the right foot. So they want to give A Twist of Greatness $20,000 as well.”
Starks was gifted with both $20,000 checks onstage, and also received a $5,000 charity gift card.
This isn’t the first charitable donation from the Sussexes. During their tour of New York City this past September, Harry and Meghan donated $25,000 to a Harlem restaurant’s employee relief fund, which aids workers affected by the pandemic.
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