Beards for Babies

A local family is hosting their second annual Beards for Babies to help raise funds for Family Support Network of Central Carolina (FSNCC) and babies in the NICU.
As part of this year’s event, men are invited to grow their beards or style them for the virtual event, which will be held at 11 a.m. on September 13 through Facebook.
Founder and event organizer Ellen Thornton explained that the event was started after her dad shaved his beard to help raise money for FSNCC following the birth of her daughter, Kimber.
Thornton said both she and her sister, Erica Garlow, had children who spent time in the NICU. Her daughter was born September 19, 2018 via an emergency C-Section.
“It took 7 minutes for them to resuscitate her, followed by a two-week NICU stay. During our time in the NICU, different volunteers from FSNCC were constantly in and out visiting with our family and asking if we needed anything, like clothing for her and offering support,” she said. “Just the connection and experience we’ve had with FSNCC was very touching and emotionally, it was very helpful for us during a difficult time.”
Thornton explained that because FSNCC was so helpful during their daughter’s stay in the NICU, the family wanted to do something to help. Thornton said because her mom wanted her dad to shave his beard, they thought they’d challenge him to do it to help raise funds for a good cause and that’s when the fundraiser was born.
“We ended up doing the event for the first time last year and raised a little over $2,000 and over five large black trash bags full of baby’s clothes and diapers,” she said, adding that FSNCC does a lot for special needs children, not just those staying in the NICU. “They also provide books and do things for siblings of babies in the NICU, and they provide clothing, diapers and car seats for families in need.”
Thornton noted that everything they raise during the event goes to FSNCC.
“We had food and snacks and did a silent auction, and all of the food was either out of pocket or was donated,” she said.
Thornton said they are hoping the event will be an annual one, which is why, despite the pandemic, they are still hosting the event this year.
“Hopefully, next year, we can do things in person again,” she said. “We cannot accept any clothing donations right now because they don’t want to risk anything being contaminated.”
For the virtual event, there will be a silent auction and beard competition. The categories include Fullest Beard, Most Uniquely Styled or Decorated Beard, Longest Beard, and Best Overall Beard. The silent auction will end at 6 p.m.
Thornton explained that last year, the participants had to raise money from sponsors to shave their beads, but since they won’t be shaving this year, the entry fee to enter the competition is $25, which will get the contestants into all the categories.
“We’ll have prizes for each winner,” she said, adding that they are still collecting items for the silent auction.
Along with the beard competition and silent auction, Thornton also sells wine glasses, t-shirts and more. Thornton said they are hoping to raise at least $3,000 this year, especially since everything will be monetary donations.
Photos of contestants’ beards need to be sent to Thornton no later than September 11 so she can get everything entered and uploaded to Facebook before the event. To enter the competition, make a donation to the silent auction or make a monetary donation, contact Thornton at or through Facebook messenger.
For more information about Beards for Babies or to participate in either the beard competition or the silent auction, visit

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