How’s it Growing? Join Henrico CASA and Henrico Firefighters for a Fuzzy Fundraiser 

Henrico CASA has teamed up with Henrico Firefighters for the Mustaches for Kids (M4K) fundraiser, an annual mustache-growing event in November that benefits kids throughout Central Virginia. All county employees are invited to participate in the fun by joining Henrico CASA and Henrico Firefighters as members of team Henrico Heroes.  

And here’s a furry fact: Mustaches are optional. 

“It’s true,” said Jeannine Panzera, Executive Director of Henrico CASA. “Just like firefighters and police officers and administrators and educators all have different superpowers — we can all grow different mustaches for a good cause.”  

So let’s get creative, Henrico. Grow your best real or faux mustache. It can be distinguished or droopy, sculpted or shaggy, bushy or pencil-thin. What matters the most is that you enjoy yourself and have a good time supporting a good cause.  

“Our mission at Henrico CASA is to advocate for vulnerable children and ensure that they can thrive in their homes,” Panzera said. “We’re thankful to the firefighters who are supporting M4K and Henrico CASA and want everyone who gets involved to have a great time.” 

Bill Boger, a longtime Henrico Firefighter and President of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1568, agreed. “The Mustaches for Kids campaign resonates with firefighters,” he said, citing the IAFF’s 2022 participation. “We had 26 members combine to raise $13,000 for M4K last year. This year, we hope to exceed that, and we invite all county emergency responders, county employees and their friends and families to join us on team ‘Henrico Heroes’.” 

Panzera said that Henrico CASA and Henrico firefighters had separate teams during the 2022 campaign and decided this year to combine their efforts with a goal to grow a team of 75 Henrico Heroes and raise $50,000. 

Henrico Fire Chief Jackson Baynard applauded the partnership. “Service is at the heart of everything we do in the fire service,” he said. “And the connection between mustaches and firefighters is a fun aspect of our culture. A fundraiser that combines those two things and that also supports great organizations like Henrico CASA is a natural fit.” 

Are you up for the challenge? We know you are! After all — With a Great ‘Stache Comes Great Responsibility! So, grow your stache and raise some cash with us. REGISTER as a Henrico Heroes team member and sport a mustache this November or DONATE in honor of your favorite Henrico Hero.   

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Christmas Mother Reflections

Eighty years ago, a local teacher went above and beyond for her students and community which started a tradition that is now known as the Henrico Christmas Mother. In October, the County Manager, John Vithoulkas, kicked off our annual fundraising campaign by asking the coordinators to make this the best year yet. County employees came together and found creative ways to collect donations and raise funds for those in need.

This year’s events included:

James River Juvenile Detention Center Fish/Chicken Fry & Car Wash

Permit Center Bake Sale

Planning Office Bake Sale

Finance Department Cookie Celebration

Human Resources Photo Booth

Henrico Sheriff’s Office “Pie the Chief”

Finance Revenue Division Taco Tuesday

Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Sweets Sale & Silent Auction

Between the events and department collection drives, County Employees far exceeded  last years’ virtual campaign contributions in almost every category.







New Books












Miscellaneous items








Maria Bagley had the honor of being this year’s Christmas Mother and was excited to be able to attend many of the events hosted by the County. On one occasion she met a woman who had previously been helped by the Christmas Mother Program. Shari Bennett Speer, an employee in the Organizational Learning and Talent Development Division of Human Resources recalled that event:

[We held a photo booth event and it was my job to call people over. I saw someone in a Santa hat and said “You need to have your photo taken with us – it’s to raise money for the Christmas Mother and you look so festive!”

She said, “I AM the Christmas Mother, and I’ll be happy to.”

Later, a woman walked past and politely declined my invitation to join us, saying she never gets pictures of herself — her family doesn’t even have any.

But she stood there and didn’t move, just looking at our prop table with a small smile on her face.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “But you know what? I’d like to donate.”

And then she told us that a couple of years back she was between jobs and struggling, and the Christmas Mother helped her when she needed it most. “I’d like to donate and help make a difference for someone else in need.”

A hush fell over us. THIS was why we were doing this. I told her “this is the actual Christmas Mother herself!” and they joyfully hugged.

20 minutes later she came back. “You know what? I WILL get a photo taken after all. This will be a gift for MY mother” – and as she posed in reindeer ears holding a sign saying “naughty or nice?” our smiles couldn’t have been bigger.


We couldn’t have been so successful this year without the generosity and hard work of Program coordinators and County Employees. In their presentation to the Board of Supervisors, The County Government Christmas Mother Chairs Tanya Brackett and Rebecca Slough also gave special mention to Jamie Massey and his team members: Renae Douglas, Marjorie Sykes, Jerome Nicholson, Nour Ramadan, Neal Jackson, and Medat William for their assistance in making sure all our donations were received in time at the Christmas Mother warehouse for distributions.

Many employees also volunteered at the warehouse as families shopped for gifts and received food donations. An average of 15 families were helped every 15 minutes during the week the distribution center had its doors open. After every family was served the the distribution center was closed, all the leftover food items were then donated back to Henrico County Public Schools for area students.

Together we showed compassion and kindness to our community, embodied the characteristics of the capability model and the Henrico Way, and made it the best year yet for the Henrico Christmas Mother.

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