SASKATOON – Hairstylists, makeup artists and photo shoots. For some it is a day they could only imagine in their dreams. Those dreams came true Saturday with the hard work of Help-Portrait.

Help-Portrait is a global initiative that first came to Saskatoon six years ago. The mission is to empower photographers, hairstylists and makeup artists of all skill levels to give back to their local community.

“It means a lot because I didn’t get their school pictures this year so this means a lot to us,” says Lauren Reid, a mother of two.

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The event finds people in need, takes their picture and then delivers the printed copies to them – all free of charge.

“It’s for people who may not be able to afford portrait photography. Because even the big chain stores you can still walk out with a sixty or seventy dollar bill. That could be rent for somebody,” said Help-Portrait co-chair Bruce Johnson.

On top of the photos, those in need can pick out a new outfit donated by Value Village, have lunch and play with toys while they wait for the photos to be developed.

“It’s exciting, you know it’s an opportunity lots of people don’t have every day,” says Value Village district manager Jacqui Ferguson.

“To come in and be able to choose from some clothing, maybe they didn’t have an outfit that they were prepared to wear today. To be able to choose something, have their hair done, it’s fabulous. It’s exciting and it makes them feel special and I’m glad to be a part of that.”

It takes an 80-person volunteer team six months to organize the day, but it’s all worth it in the eyes of those involved.

“The smiles are great, the posed photos are wonderful, but it’s those moments that you don’t always see that are the best. The kids smiling, having a good time, enjoying themselves here and then there are the volunteers. Seeing the volunteers enjoy the reward of working with these people,” says Help-Portrait co-chair Jay Scott.

Organizers Jay Scott and Bruce Johnson say they’re planning to expand Help-Portrait to two events next year, giving twice as many people a reason to smile during the holiday season.

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