Law enforcement officers in Callaway County are entering December with clean-shaven faces and pride.
On Wednesday, participants in No-Shave November presented a $900 check to Bright Futures Fulton, a local charity focused on helping fill the needs of children attending Fulton Public Schools.
A number of Callaway County Sheriff's Office deputies, Fulton Police Department officers and Callaway County Jail participated in the annual event. While the dress code for the agency typically requires a beardless face, for $20, the officers may skip shaving for the month of November, with all the proceeds going to charity at the end of the month.
"I am genuinely proud of my staff at the sheriff's office," said Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism. "We are very committed to helping our community in ways outside the normal scope of law enforcement. Helping kids is our specialty."
Sgt. Lance Reams of the Fulton Police Department is the Bright Futures board chairman and advocated for the group to be this year's recipient.
"Children come to school on a regular basis with basic needs not having been met," Reams said during a Fulton City Council meeting last month. "Previously, teachers were spending a lot of their own money meeting those needs. When the basic needs aren't met, children end up more worried about their empty stomaches than they are about food."
Bright Futures is a national program. When a local community starts its own initiative, they are given access to Bright Futures resources and their own Facebook page. When a student at Fulton Public Schools has an immediate need — like a new pair of shoes — teachers can post to the page, allowing community members to rapidly respond. A scroll down the Fulton Bright Futures page shows most needs are met within 24 hours.
Bright Futures will also be starting a mentor program to help keep students on track to succeed.