Louisiana sheriff makes successful ‘no shave’ fundraiser yearlong: ‘It’s a win-win’

Deputies raised money for 24 charities including the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross

A sheriff’s office in Louisiana will continue to allow deputies to grow out their beards for charity all year after the success of last year’s fundraiser. 

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office raised about $4,000 in two months for its 2021 "No Shave November" fundraiser, according to the Associated Press.

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Funds raised included $2,595 for the American Cancer Society and $1,260 for Special Olympics Louisiana, as well as donations to 22 other organizations, including the American Red Cross, the Children’s Defense Fund and the Wounded Warrior Project, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.

Capt. Brennan Matherne, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office told Fox News that about 125 employees of the sheriff’s office participated, one-third of whom were women. 

Women who participated in the fundraiser were allowed to wear jeans on Fridays, if their job allowed.

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The annual fundraiser works by allowing deputies to pay $25 a month so they can grow out their beards – which has traditionally not been allowed in law enforcement agencies – or have casual Fridays during November and December, according to the release. Now, the fundraiser will continue all year, with a monthly $20 donation.

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced last month that his employees with the sheriff’s office will be allowed to grow out their beards yearlong for an ongoing fundraiser in 2022. 

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced last month that his employees with the sheriff’s office will be allowed to grow out their beards yearlong for an ongoing fundraiser in 2022.  (Courtesy of Capt. Brennan Matherne)

Capt. Brennan Matherne, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, told Fox News that Sheriff Craig Webre has made several changes in recent months – including extending the no-shave fundraiser – after Hurricane Ida hit the area last year. 

Capt. Brennan Matherne, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, told Fox News that Sheriff Craig Webre has made several changes in recent months – including extending the no-shave fundraiser – after Hurricane Ida hit the area last year.  (Courtesy of Capt. Brennan Matherne)

"After what we’ve been through in the past two years, I figured there are plenty of great causes to allow this to continue all year," Sheriff Craig Webre said in a release.

As of Thursday, Matherne told Fox that about 100 employees of the sheriff’s office have signed up to participate in the new year.

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"In the wake of Hurricane Ida, I think, it caused us to reevaluate a lot of things," Matherne told Fox. "Having such a life-changing storm, Sheriff Webre made a number of changes that he had kind of bucked the trend of the past 30 years."

Deputy Vernell Tolbert, a programming officer at the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex, told Fox News that he has always enjoyed the winter fundraiser and that he plans to continue to participate.

Deputy Vernell Tolbert, a programming officer at the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex, told Fox News that he has always enjoyed the winter fundraiser and that he plans to continue to participate. (Courtesy of Deputy Vernell Tolbert)

"I plan on doing it year-round," Tolbert told Fox News. "I love the policy. I was hoping that they would implement something like that a couple of years ago… So I’m happy about it."

"I plan on doing it year-round," Tolbert told Fox News. "I love the policy. I was hoping that they would implement something like that a couple of years ago… So I’m happy about it." (Courtesy of Deputy Vernell Tolbert)

Initially, those changes were related to deputy uniforms, Matherne said.

After the hurricane, which caused many deputies to lose their homes and made it difficult to find ways to do laundry, Webre decided to allow his deputies to wear their utility uniforms, rather than their class-A uniforms. 

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Webre also changed the policy around his deputies’ winter uniforms and allowed deputies to wear short sleeves in the traditionally "winter" months, when it was still warm in Louisiana.

Continuing the no-shave fundraiser into the new year was another change. 

The annual fundraiser works by allowing deputies to pay $25 a month so they can grow out their beards or have casual Fridays during November and December, according to the release. Now, the fundraiser will continue all year, with a monthly $20 donation. Major Lafate Day is pictured. 

The annual fundraiser works by allowing deputies to pay $25 a month so they can grow out their beards or have casual Fridays during November and December, according to the release. Now, the fundraiser will continue all year, with a monthly $20 donation. Major Lafate Day is pictured.  (Courtesy of Major Lafate Day)

"This was all an effort to raise morale in the wake of the worst disaster that our generation has seen in our area," Matherne said. 

"It does help and it does raise morale," he added. "The response has been amazing."

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Deputy Vernell Tolbert, a programming officer at the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex, told Fox News that he has always enjoyed the winter fundraiser and that he plans to continue to participate.

According to Matherne, about 125 employees of the sheriff’s office participated in the 2021 "No Shave November" fundraiser. About 100 employees are signed up to participate in the new year. Former Chief Deputy Bud Dill, who still works at the sheriff’s office, is pictured. 

According to Matherne, about 125 employees of the sheriff’s office participated in the 2021 "No Shave November" fundraiser. About 100 employees are signed up to participate in the new year. Former Chief Deputy Bud Dill, who still works at the sheriff’s office, is pictured.  (Courtesy of former Chief Deputy Bud Dill)

"I plan on doing it year-round," he told Fox. "I love the policy. I was hoping that they would implement something like that a couple of years ago. … So I’m happy about it."

"It’s a win-win," he added. "You get to grow your beard out and you get to give back."

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In the press release, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office said that though mustaches are traditionally allowed in law enforcement agencies, beards are typically not. However, that policy reportedly appears to be changing across the country. 

"Beards have become more commonplace and accepted in our society, even in professional settings," Webre said in the release. "The public has had a positive reception to our deputies’ beards. I’ve even received positive comments myself, so I will be participating along with many deputies, and it’s all for great causes."