Hairless for the Homeless fund drive underway to benefit Anchor House

Asking someone to shave their head may result in reluctance.

When they find out it’s for a good cause, though, the thought of being bald is beautiful.

The fundraising committee of Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Food Pantry in Seymour and executive director Deb Bedwell found 11 people willing to raise at least $1,000 apiece for this year’s Hairless for the Homeless fundraiser.

Whoever raises the most money will have their head shaved by Becky Morris and her team from The Buzz Hair Design Studio the night of the event, which starts at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6 during Seymour Oktoberfest on the south stage along Chestnut Street.

Bedwell also set a goal for herself to raise $2,000, and she recently exceeded it. That means she will be bald, too.

At 9 a.m. Friday for the next two weeks, Bedwell will share the standings on Radio 96.3 WJAA. They also will be printed in The Tribune and shared on Anchor House’s Facebook page.

She also will share the standings on the radio at 9 a.m. Oct. 5, but from 5 p.m. that day to 5 p.m. Oct. 6 will be quiet time, when totals raised or standings won’t be announced.

“During that time, candidates can hoard money and bring it in and dump it on another candidate’s head,” Bedwell said.

Fundraising started Sept. 1 for the candidates — Bob Tabeling, the Rev. Dr. Jeremy Myers, Dr. Eric Fish, Robert Walls, Jim Lucas, Brad Lucas, Heather Grube, Bill Abbott, Dr. John Hiester, Dave Hill and Drew Markel.

Bedwell said they were encouraged to find a team captain to help them strategize how to raise money.

People can donate online by visiting anchorhouseshelter.org, clicking on the “Donate” button, typing in the amount and putting the candidate’s name in the notes. Donations also may be dropped off at Anchor House, 250 S. Vine St., Seymour, or mailed to P.O. Box 765, Seymour, IN 47274.

The fundraiser is expected to bring in more than $13,000, which will go into Anchor House’s fundraising account to be used for whatever needs arise.

That could include buying food for the pantry. Bedwell said between $12,000 and $15,000 is spent each year on the pantry.

“I’m the breadwinner of the family, and this is my family here, my work family and a family of my heart,” she said. “It’s making sure that we’re doing something that brings attention and awareness to what we do here in a lighthearted, funny way. I don’t know how much we’re going to end up with, but whatever it is will be a blessing.”

Since Bedwell became executive director of the homeless shelter for families in 2001, this is the fourth time to have Hairless for the Homeless as a fundraiser. The first one in 2001 raised $30,000, but the last one in 2007 only brought in $8,000.

The board then looked into other fundraiser possibilities and came up with a golf outing and a wrestling event. This year’s golf outing raised $19,450, but the wrestling event has only brought in a couple thousand dollars.

So this year, the board decided to drop the wrestling event and bring back Hairless for the Homeless.

“This is going to be fun,” Bedwell said. “… It’s an awareness raising of what we do and those that we help. It’s a lighthearted attempt to help a situation that breaks your heart and makes you cry.”

In the past three years, Anchor House has undergone two major projects.

The first one was converting two nearby apartment buildings into units for seven homeless families. Previously, they stayed in rooms in the main building. Grant dollars were awarded in December 2014, the project started the first week of January 2015 and residents began moving in in September of that year.

Focus then turned toward renovating the main building to include a larger area for the food pantry and a community meeting room with a kitchen. There’s also an area for residents to have access to washing machines and dryers.

The project was completed in six months. Residents, pantry clients and community volunteers helped move items, and the new pantry opened in May.

“What it also afforded us is a real separation between the pantry program and the residential program, which was really important,” Bedwell said.

The size of the pantry increased by 400 percent, she said, and there’s now one way in and one way out. Before, there was only one way in and out of the pantry, so people sometimes had to wait more than two hours.

The larger pantry also allows six families to shop at once. Before, only two or three could go in at a time.

“Every day I come in here, I have to pinch myself because of the way we lived before and what we got accustomed to,” Bedwell said. “This is beautiful, and it’s a lovely place to have. To me, the self-esteem thing of clients coming in, it’s set up like a grocery store environment so that when you come, you don’t feel like you’re visiting a food bank. We just are going shopping at Anchor House.”

The projects also included moving the entry gate to the west side of the property, creating a parking lot and fencing in the space between the apartment buildings and the main building.

The best part is that all of the money for the projects either is in hand or will be coming in.

“Hopefully, by this time next year or by June of next year, we’re going to be back debt-free again,” Bedwell said. “We were debt-free for five years before we started this adventure, and that’s our plan.”

Bedwell said she wants to do Hairless for the Homeless again next year. She already has a list of potential candidates.

“You need to have somebody willing to say, ‘Hey, you want my head shaved? It’s going to cost this amount of money, so if you want me to do it, then the money needs to come in to reach this level before I do it,’ so I think that’s a challenge,” she said.

If anyone is reluctant, Bedwell said she tells them if she’s willing to shave her head, they should be, too.

“My plan is I’m going to wear more eye shadow, brighter lipstick and bigger earrings,” she said, noting that she also has some colorful hats to wear. “You will definitely see me coming.”

At a glance

Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Food Pantry is at 250 S. Vine St., Seymour.

Staffed shelter hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 6 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

The food pantry is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays and from noon to 5 p.m. Thursdays. People can come once in a 30-day time period.

For information, call 812-522-9308 or visit anchorhouseshelter.org.

At a glance

Anchor House Hairless for the Homeless standings as of 8 a.m. Thursday

Name;Employer/job;Amount raised

Bob Tabeling;Seymour Parks and Recreation Department director;$600

The Rev. Dr. Jeremy Myers;Senior pastor at First Baptist Church;$525

Dr. Eric Fish;Schneck Medical Center;$500

Robert Walls;Skaggs Builders;$500

Jim Lucas;State representative;$100

Brad Lucas;Chief of the Seymour Fire Department;$100

Heather Grube;Co-owner of Beautiful Chaos;$25

Bill Abbott;Chief of the Seymour Police Department;$0

Dr. John Hiester;American Family Orthodontics;$0

Dave Hill;The Home Depot;$0

Drew Markel;Jackson County commissioner;$0

Anchor House executive director Deb Bedwell also has raised $2,600 to bring the fundraising total to $4,950.

The goal is for each candidate to raise at least $1,000, so the fundraiser is expected to bring in more than $13,000.

Since Bedwell exceeded her goal of $2,000, she will have her head shaved at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6 during Seymour Oktoberfest on the south stage along Chestnut Street.

Of the other 11 candidates, the one who raises the most money will have his or her head shaved, too.

People can donate online by visiting anchorhouseshelter.org, clicking on the “Donate” button, typing in the amount and putting the candidate’s name in the notes. Donations also may be dropped off at Anchor House, 250 S. Vine St., Seymour, or mailed to P.O. Box 765, Seymour, IN 47274.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.