No-Shave November prompts charity drive

Cady Meece | Staff Writer

No-Shave November, a popular event in the past, is being utilized this year as an avenue to raise awareness about the growing problem of poverty and homelessness in Cincinnati.

Contemporary Social Issues teacher Dan Distel said he decided to create a project in conjunction with No-Shave November to collect toiletries that will go to the Drop Inn Center, a homeless shelter located in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

“Myself and several other teachers are collecting toiletries such as shaving cream, new clothes and razors that will be given to the homeless,” Distel said.

According to senior Ib Chaudhry, the cause grew from collecting only shaving supplies to collecting any basic needs.

“I was talking to Distel, and I told him that he should do No-Shave November,” Chaudhry said. “Distel suggested making it something more important, so he came up with this project. At first, he wanted to only collect shaving supplies but then, we decided that collecting more than that would be better.”

Beginning as a discussion, according to Distel, the project was a spur-of-the-moment thought.

“There wasn’t much forethought about it,” Distel said. “I was told about No-Shave November by some of my students, but I just stuck the bug in people’s ears and basically said, ‘we can make this bigger than it is.’”

Although some wonder why the drive is conducted now, according to Distel, the timing couldn’t be better for the drive.

“I teach Contemporary Social Issues and homelessness is usually not a topic that we cover, but with No-Shave November happening and this being a rampant issue among our veterans, who are also honored in November, it just fit,” Distel said.

There are many reasons to donate to the cause, according to senior Miles Koutney, but one reason in particular was the driving force behind his donations.

“There are many reasons why I wanted to donate, but the main reason is that it’s giving to people that are less fortunate,” Koutney said. “For a lot of homeless people, it’s not their fault that they are in that situation. Actually, a lot of homeless people are veterans, and it’s our governments’ fault that they are not giving them the support and funds they need when they return from duty.”

According to Distel, many students are excited for the cause and are readily offering up anything they can give.

“I have yet to feel like I need to ask for support for this cause,” Distel said. “It’s the whole month and some students seemed to embrace it right away. I have had students bring in huge bags full of supplies, so the cause must have gotten to them somehow.”

According to Koutney, the image of students’ with scruffy faces is just enough to connect this project with the established and popular No-Shave November.

“No-Shave November is connected to this cause because, when people picture homelessness, they picture a man that is dirty, usually with a beard,” Koutney said. “Because a lot of people are not shaving, they can give their extra supplies to the cause.”

Although the reasons for students’ participation in No-Shave November may not be connected to the project, according to Distel, some students are helping to raise awareness for the cause by keeping a face full of hair to encourage others to do the same and donate.

“When you see students that seem to be not shaving, it’s sort of hit and miss on why they are doing it,” Distel said. “Some say they forgot to shave that morning and others really are participating. I’ve seen some who are actually participating trying to encourage others to participate as well.”

Chaudhry said he hopes that students will donate supplies to the cause regardless of their participation in No-Shave November.

“Prior to No-Shave November, I had a full beard,” Chaudhry said. “I shaved it off the day before November 1, and I haven’t shaved it since. Having a full beard helps to connect homelessness to No-Shave November because of how others view those that are homeless. I hope others are encouraged to donate anything they can, even if they aren’t participating.”

According to Koutney, although keeping his facial hair helped raise awareness for the cause, in his case, shaving it all off in the middle of the month helped the cause more.

“My dad told me that if I did shave, he would buy five times as many supplies as he would if I didn’t, so I shaved,” Koutney said.

For some, the connection between No-shave November and homelessness may be lost, but there is a reward that, according to Distel, is much bigger than having a little extra facial hair.

“Many students have asked me how this connects to No-Shave November,” Distel said. “The reason this all fits together is because having a clean shave and a shower makes people feel human. The reason people turn the other way or keep walking past someone is because we don’t view them to be human because of how we see them. People need this stuff. It makes people feel like a new person when [they] have the chance to clean up and have a fresh appearance. That’s the message that I really want people to take from this cause.”

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