Talk of the Town - Hair's to you, kid March 26 2003

The idea may not seem so outrageous — grow a beard or mustache, raise some money. But it's harder than you might think to get some men to sport facial hair — that is, unless money is involved.

The second annual Genesis Shelter Beards for Babies fundraiser winds down at the end of this month. The mission: Go bearded, go bald, or simply grow a mustache to raise money for the organization that provides nurturing assistance to homeless newborns. Last year, 10 guys raised $10,000 from sponsorships. This year's goal is $50,000, with 30 men set to put away the razor so far — and there's still time for a few others to get involved.

Genesis Executive Director Brenita Jackson admits that beard-growing might not be all that extreme, but she points out that most of those involved are professionals with clean-cut appearances. Their co-workers and friends get a kick out of seeing them with facial hair, so they pay for the privilege of seeing it happen. This year's bearded gang gathers April 1 for a joint shaving party.

Sadly, no ladies have agreed to shave their heads or don a beard for the event. Yet.

Send donations to P.O. Box 77144, Atlanta, GA 30357. 404-892-6131. www.genesisshelter.com.