Things are getting hairy for Millsboro police as officers sport whiskers for charity

Under the watchful eye of Santa Claus, Millsboro police officers Sgt. Patrick Forester, center, and Cpl. Jonathan Zubrowski wheel a cart of gifts for one the families in the department’s 2019 Whiskers for Wishes drive. (Delaware State News file photo/Glenn Rolfe)

MILLSBORO — Probably by about Thanksgiving, many members of the Millsboro Police Department will be sporting more than the proverbial five o’clock shadow.

Millsboro Town Council on Monday night formally approved a grooming-standards waiver for “Whiskers for Wishes,” a holiday tradition launched by Millsboro police in 2016 that is a hair-raising fundraiser to help bring Christmas joy to less fortunate families.

Beards and mustaches will be allowed the last two months of the year for sworn police department personnel who make a monthly pledge of $20 per officer.

Council cast unanimous support to the waiver for Whiskers for Wishes, which this year will run Nov. 1-Dec. 31.

The 2019 monetary total, which included generous donations from the community, was a record $6,515.44. It supported Christmas for children of 10 families. School counselors assist Grace United Methodist Church in selecting the families in need.

“So, in order for this to be a success, we have to partner with our businesses, and we partner with our residents for this to really accumulate,” said Millsboro Police Chief Brian Calloway.

The first year, in 2016, the program raised $1,535. In 2017, the amount doubled to $3,070. The initiative grew to $5,556.31 in 2018, which was surpassed by nearly a grand last year.

“At this point, as you can see, this has been a success for our agency,” Chief Calloway said. “It’s a way for us to connect and really kind of be something outside of just being a police officer. It’s going to children and giving them something that they might not have had.”

The chief plans to once again capitalize on the grooming-standards waiver.
“I will do it again, yes,” he said. “I would say the majority of our police department has participated, at least 75% of our agency. We have 16 sworn officers.”

Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson also plans to participate again.
“Absolutely. My wife insists on it,” said Mr. Hudson. “And I like to do it to support the cause.”

Special deliveries to the families are typically staged a few days before Christmas.

“The other part of this is they (Grace UMC) sponsor families, but the police department delivers the gifts, with Santa,” said Chief Calloway.