According to Barnum, the impromptu charity effort has been a great success. As of noon on Nov. 21, Barnum had received more than 10 paper grocery bags full of shaving-related items and he anticipates more could be on the way.
MUSKEGON, MI – Rev. Matthew Barnum wasn’t planning on winning the title of “Muskegon’s Best Beard.”
But once he did, he made the most of it.
Barnum, the 35-year-old priest at Our Lady of Grace and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Muskegon, was named the winner of the contest on Nov. 18.
Upon doing so, he announced his intentions to spearhead a razor drive, in which items such as shaving cream, razors, soap and shampoo would be donated to the men’s shelter at the Muskegon Rescue Mission.
According to Barnum, the impromptu charity effort has been a great success. As of noon on Nov. 21, Barnum had received more than 10 paper grocery bags full of shaving-related items. He said he anticipates more could be on the way.
“I’m really not surprised,” he said. “People want to do good things. When you turn something fun like this — something that’s a spectacle in a good way, like ‘local priest wins beard contest,’ it garners attention. I needed to direct that attention to something good. I really believe people want to do good.”
Barnum received a “Muskegon’s Best Beard” plaque at a reception at Pigeon Hill Brewing Company, the brewery he represented in the contest, on the evening of Nov. 19. Plenty of people turned out to celebrate his win, including many of his fellow competitors who were contributors to the razor drive.
Even people who weren’t aware the razor drive was taking place were getting involved by writing Barnum and the church checks so they could buy shaving-related items, Barnum said.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “…my win was a fluke but everyone got behind the idea of the razor drive. It’s a great thing for the Beard Barons and the Muskegon Rescue Mission.”
Due to its impromptu nature, there are no set dates or times when the razor drive will end, and that’s just fine with Barnum.
“As long as people want to keep bringing stuff in, we’ll keep bring it to the Mission,” he said.