Word has spread about the Bye-Bye Beard fundraiser; a Nacogdoches pastor said his church has raised about 15 percent of his goal of $5,000 in less than a week.
Last Sunday, Pat Kelly, the senior pastor of Fredonia Hill Baptist Church, told his congregation that he wouldn't shave his beard off until members and people in the community raised the $5,000. Once the money is raised, it will be donated to an organization called End It Movement.
"It's crazy how this spread," Kelly said Thursday. "We are only 15 percent to the goal, so I will probably still be sporting a beard this Sunday."
Kelly and his wife, April, spoke with East Texas News Monday. The initial idea came on New Year's Day.
"I was in the bathroom getting to shave, and my wife came in and said, ‘Don't do it,' and I said ‘Why?'" Pat Kelly said.
"I told him, ‘You know what?'" April Kelly said. "You should put a mission to shaving your beard."
The organization's mission statement said 27 million men, women, and children are working in brothels, factories and quarries. In addition, they are working as slaves in 161 countries, including the United States.
"Here's something you might not know - slavery still exists," the Web site's mission statement said. "We want every man, woman, and child to know that there are 27 million men, women, and children, just like them, living in the shadows."
To donate to the cause, go the Fredonia Hill Web site, and click on the Give to Fredonia Hill link. Specify that you want the money to go to the Bye-Bye Beard fund.
"Every thirty seconds there is a victim in the sex trafficking industry, and the average age is twelve years old," April Kelly said.
"I'm going to miss my beard," Pat Kelly said. "I've come accustomed to it and my wife loves it, but the church body wants it gone and even more so they believe in the mission."
The inspiration for the beard? Everyone's favorite duck-calling family.
"I started thinking about Duck Dynasty, and I started thinking that you know I am not ashamed to watch it and grow one, so this is a Duck Dynasty beard you could say," Kelly said.
Some of Kelly's members will also shave for the cause. They hope their beards will raise even more money.
"They'll chip in their beards and shave them if we raise beyond that," Kelly said. "The first $5,000 to enditmovement.com, and after that to a water well in Haiti."
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