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Beards for bread: Contest raises money for St. Rose of Lima food pantry

— Things got a little hairy at North Syracuse Junior High School the week before the holiday break.

But it’s okay; it was all for a good cause.

Thirty members of the staff at the school signed up to grow beards in support of NSJHS’s Beards for Bread fundraiser, which aimed to raise money for the Community Food Pantry at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church. The idea came from math teacher Zach Mekker and science teacher Jason Shannon, according to Assistant Principal Chuck Yonko.

“The idea is that we wanted to raise money for the food pantry, and we wanted a little bit of a different way to do it,” Yonko said. “This is a little bit of a morale boost for the staff and for the kids and a way to have fun before the holidays.”

Yonko said the school has done some less-than-traditional fundraisers in the past.

“In the past, we’ve done an ugly sweater contest,” he said. “In fact, I think some of the ladies here are doing that as a counterpart to the Beards for Bread, though not as a fundraiser.”

For this fundraiser, male staffers, including teachers, custodians and administrators, started growing beards last month. Staffers were teamed up in groups of two or three. Last week, they were photographed, and their pictures were put on posters; the posters were then put up so that the students could vote for their favorite. They could also vote in other categories like “Best beard” and “ugliest.” Votes were cast by dropping change into a jar in front of that group’s poster. The winner was determined based on who had the most change and declared to the school during its televised announcements Friday morning. At the end of the contest, all of the money was donated to the food pantry.

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