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‘Bearded Villains’ charity vigilantes make beds for kids in need

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Two local charity groups have teamed up to provide bunk beds for children in need. It involves a lot of construction, bedding, pillows and a beard of at least four inches long.

One of the groups is called the “Bearded Villains.” It’s the Indianapolis chapter of a national organization aimed at unifying bearded men for charitable causes.

“We’re just nice guys wanting to help out with anything possible,” said John Hawxby, co-captain of the Indy chapter.

He said he found the Bearded Villains when he moved to town, didn’t have any friends and someone else with a beard passed him a business card.

“It’s a brotherhood. It’s a family. Moving away from my family, I found a new one,” he said.

Bearded Villains started in 2014 in Los Angeles, California by Von Knox, according to its website. Hawxby says Knox wanted to “break the stereotype that if you have a beard and tattoos that you’re a bad person.” It began with a few charity projects and now has more than 150 chapters around the world, including three in Indiana.

The Indy chapter is an official 501c3 and has 17 members. It’s also the first chapter to offer college scholarships. They volunteer with autism awareness, MS walks, food distribution, Christmas toy drives, new playground equipment, homeless outreach and a group called “Sleep in Heavenly Peace.”

“I know what it’s like to sleep on the floor, but my wife works for the Department of Child Services and half of her clients didn’t have a bed,” said David Fryman, Sleep in Heavenly Peace CFO. “No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.”

Sleep in Heavenly Peace builds beds and bunk beds and donates them to families in need, complete with bedding, a pillow and often a stuffed animal. The Bearded Villains reached out.

“We were taken back by the name when we got this Facebook message saying ‘Hey we want to come help you,’ and we’re like ‘Hey, we didn’t want Hell’s Angels to show up and scare everyone off,'” laughed Fryman.

They took the chance and Fryman says a “small army” showed up.

“It was the coolest thing ever. Everyone was so friendly,” said Fryman. “Thanks to them. I’ll give them all the credit.”

They made 18 beds in two weeks and are continuing the work.

Fryman says Ashley Furniture Home Stores has donated mattresses, so they need sponsors to buy lumber and work on a “build day.” Then the completed beds are moved into homes and the kids pick out their bedding.

“People had donated stuffed animals so you hand them that and you’ve never seen a smile larger than that,” said Hawxby.

Find out how to volunteer with Sleep in Heavenly Peace at their website.

Bearded Villains will also soon announce the recipients of its scholarships, based on demonstrating exceptional community service. The 1st Place winner will receive $3,500 and the 2nd Place received $1,000. The Bearded Villains will announce the winners by July 15.

Bearded Villains is also looking for new members. Sure enough, you do need to have a beard, but Hawxby says you’re welcome to start with a “business beard,” or something “tuggable,” and they’ll go from there.

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