Kari Anderson has always been a people person.
From her volunteer work at Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen to her job as a hair stylist, relationships are Anderson's motivation.
"People are my passion," she said.
Anderson, a hair stylist for the last 28 years, started her own business, Hair and Beyond, three years ago. She currently has nine employees and the salon is already in the midst of an expansion project that will add tanning, a massage and facial room and space for two more stylists, giving her business a spa-feel.
"A lot of clients asked for more services," Anderson said of why the business is expanding so soon.
Kari Anderson styled Beth Tank's hair at Hair and Beyond in downtown Brainerd. Anderson, owner of Hair and Beyond, said she considers her business a ministry. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Anderson is no stranger to serving people. A longtime soup kitchen volunteer, she started a successful Sunday program where the gospel is shared before mealtime.
"Their soul is being fed in a way," she said of soup kitchen guests. "There's a lot of opportunity to sit and pray with people. A lot of them don't feel very loved or very lovely."
Anderson sometimes gives free haircuts to her soup kitchen friends who can't afford it otherwise, or invites them into her shop for coffee.
"I want to use the talents God gave me," she said.
Anderson opened Hair and Beyond in downtown Brainerd for a reason. She views her work as a ministry and wanted her business to "be a bright light in that area." While cutting hair, she sometimes even prays with her clients.
Age: 47. 1979 graduate of New York Mills High School.
Family: Married to Rick Anderson for 28 years. Two children, Casey, 26, and Kelsey, 22.
Thoughts on growing up on a dairy farm: "It's given me a good work ethic. Farm life is hard life."
Her farm chores: Cooking, cleaning, gardening, picking rocks and sometimes driving the tractor.
Number of mission trips she's been on: Five. Mexico, Chicago twice and Costa Rica twice.
How often she gets her hair cut: Every six weeks.
Plans for St. Patrick's Day: Wear something green to work. (She's German, not Irish.)
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Anderson enjoys working at the soup kitchen because she has gotten to know many of the patrons.
"It's kind of like family," she said.
About 30 people come to the soup kitchen on Sunday afternoons to listen to worship music and hear a short message before the meal is served.
Anderson is active in her church, Lakewood Evangelical Free, where she and her husband, Rick, lead Junction 122, a Bible study-type group for college-age people.
The couple, along with others from Lakewood, recently returned from a mission trip to Costa Rica. They worked at a recovery center for 12- to 18-year-old girls who live on the streets, are prostitutes and addicted to drugs. This was Anderson's second trip to Costa Rica.
"Each time I come back I'm so thankful for what we have here," she said. "It opens my eyes to the needs here (in this community) too."
HEIDI LAKE may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5879.
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