In the spirit of the Christmas season...Sheriff's deputies turn no-shave contest into fundraiser for needy children in Glenns Ferry
The beards are gone but the symbolic Christmas cheer they help provide lived on in the memories of children in the Glenns Ferry area during a yearly benefit organized by the county sheriff's department.
Deputies with the county department raised more than $600 during its "no-shave November" fundraiser, which provided funds to support this year's Breakfast with Santa program held Saturday at the Three Island Senior Center in Glenns Ferry.
Deputies who wanted to avoid 30 days of shaving could participate and the $25 each one provided helped benefit the annual breakfast. The funds paid for meals for children who otherwise might not be able to afford to have breakfast with Santa Claus.
The opportunity to participate was also extended to patrolmen, jail staff, office staff and administration.
"Just about everyone was included in the general staff," said Sgt. Rudy Foote from the sheriff's department, who routinely patrols the Glenns Ferry area.
Although the Breakfast With Santa day has gone on for 17 years, the "no shave November" fund raiser was the newest brain child of Foote and Lt. Robert Wade.
"I asked to grow a beard or goatee and he (Sheriff Rich Layher) agreed," said Foote, who added that the process contained a little more cajoling than he expressed at first.
The only catch was that all facial hair had to be shaved off by Dec. 11 -- the day after the breakfast.
At the senior center in Glenns Ferry, volunteers started setting up the day before getting ready for their annual act of act of cheer and good will. Volunteers started arriving at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday just to be ready.
"In past years, we've had almost as many, if not more, sheriffs than volunteers," said Toni Jones, senior center site manager.
But it's a project that lasts months out of the season. Organizers start in October asking for toy donations for Santa to hand out when kids come to get pictures and whisper their wishes in his ear.
For many this is an annual outing "we come every year, it's like a tradition to us," said Rojelia Juarez, who brought her three children, Maria, Juan, and Elizabeth.
For others, this is a new experience.
"I think this it's really fun; I like the environment," said Allison Jones who was brought to the event by her friend, Kaylee.
"I've been doing this since I was about five, maybe a little younger," said Kaylee Andrus, the daughter of Deputy Clint Andrus.
Breakfast with Santa was established in 1999 after Shop with a Cop took off in the Mountain Home area. It was a way for deputies who patrol in Glenns Ferry and the community to create a children's Christmas season.