It’s that time of year when the leaves change color, the weather gets colder, and some local police officers once again go scruffy for the annual Beards for Bucks campaign.
The seventh annual statewide fundraiser challenges officers — who are usually required to be clean shaven — to grow their facial hair through the month of October. And as their beards grow, so do awareness and donations to support children who are victims of physical and sexual abuse or who witness violent crimes.
Female officers can get involved in other ways, such as sporting a fake beard or having a loved one grow a beard on their behalf.
Police departments in Alstead, Antrim, Chesterfield, Claremont, Keene, Harrisville, Marlborough and Peterborough are among those participating this year.
“So many of us do this every year because we recognize how worthwhile it is,” Keene police Lt. Steven Tenney said. “... It’s important not only for us to successfully do our job but more importantly for the children as well that need their services.”
All of the proceeds go to fund programs at local child advocacy centers.
Money raised by participating departments in Cheshire County will benefit the Monadnock Region Child Advocacy Center in Keene, while Peterborough’s fundraising efforts will benefit the Child Advocacy Center of Hillsborough County, and Charlestown is raising money for the Child Advocacy Center of Grafton and Sullivan counties.
The Monadnock center has provided child forensic-interview services for Cheshire County law enforcement departments, the Cheshire County Attorney’s Office and the Keene office for the Division for Children, Youth and Families since 2007, according to the event’s GoFundMe page.
“They are definitely a much-needed tool in law enforcement when it comes to forensic interviews,” Tenney said.
The Keene Police Department — which has 17 officers, including Tenney, participating — has already surpassed its fundraising goal this year of $3,000, Tenney said, with $3,385 raised as of Tuesday.
Sgt. Christopher Simonds held the top spot as of that day, according to the page, with more than $1,000 raised so far.
To donate to the Beards for Bucks campaign, visit beardsforbucks.org and search for the officer or police department of your choice. Cash donations are also accepted at participating police departments.
If you suspect child abuse, call the N.H. Division for Children, Youth and Families at 1-800-894-5533 or contact your local police.