BUCKHANNON – Looking for a nice Christmas present that supports an even better cause?
Look no further than the Band of Brothers 2022 West Virginia Scenic Calendar, which is back this year with dazzling and picturesque photos, all captured by local photographer Al Tucker in Upshur County and other awe-inspiring areas. of the Mountain State.
After a record-breaking fundraising year in 2020 aimed at brightening up Christmas for nursing home and long-term care patients, the Christian men’s group is returning to one of their primary missions: to ensure that at-risk children of all ages – both in and outside Upshur County – are not forgotten at Christmas.
This year the group’s goal is to raise $ 38,000 and by mid-November they were about $ 10,000 short of their goal, said Tucker, longtime Band of Brothers.
“We focus on underprivileged children, and those are children who slip through the safety net here and across the state – children who for some reason are not being spotted by programs put in place to. help them, ”Tucker said. “There might not be a parent or guardian who cares enough about making sure they get something for Christmas or have some sort of Christmas… so they don’t.”
Locally, the group is working with Lori Ulderich Harvey, Executive Director of the Upshur County Family Resource Network, and Jody Akers, Director of Attendance and Transportation with Schools in Upshur County, to identify children and adolescents who may not experience Christmas without the help of others. Additionally, the Band of Brothers works with the Underprivileged Children’s Foundation, a Charleston-based state group that helps young people in approximately 13 West Virginia counties.
“Our sub-theme this year is ‘We need a Little Christmas’, and we want that to apply to all kids,” Tucker said. “We are working hard to help as many of them who would not have had a ‘little Christmas’ without the kindness of the people.”
The Foundation, which is well established in the Mason, Wood, Cabell and Kanawha County area, partners with child protection services.
“They really do a number of things all related to underprivileged children, and on Christmas they have this program to go out and get Christmas presents and food – kind of like what we did,” Tucker said.
In previous years, Band of Brothers members would go to places where people were in desperate need of help. In 2016, they worked on the Southern West Virginia Flood Relief Project; in 2017, they focused on the Hundred Flood Relief Project; and 2018, they traveled to poverty-stricken McDowell County to lend a helping hand and heart to improve people’s lives.
In 2020, they made Christmas celebrations possible at 35 nursing homes in north-central West Virginia, including the W.Va. Veterans Nursing Home in Clarksburg. Now, in 2021, providing direct services and aids, especially when it comes to travel, is not as feasible as it used to be, Tucker said.
“We’re all getting a little bit older, so it’s a little harder to travel to all the places we’ve been to in previous years, so we thought, ‘Let’s go out there and find these people who really touch people. in need, ”he said. “So we are working with the Foundation for Underprivileged Children, and they are so excited. They are more than excited.
Tucker said he spoke with the group’s president, Tommy Vance, who grew up in an impoverished environment and understands what it is firsthand.
“They go to places where there are no Christmas trees in the house,” Tucker said of the Foundation. “They go to places where there will be a lock on the refrigerator, and they go to places where the children have made a hole in the wall to hide food so that they have enough to eat. There was this child they were telling me about, and in his room, behind a piece of furniture, he stuffed food into it. Most of us can’t even imagine this.
“Even though we are a poor state, it’s hard to imagine that,” Tucker added. “They work with what they call at-risk families, and these are families that are still together, but they’re really struggling, and they could lose their children, so they’re not very economically viable. So the Foundation wants to make sure that they find these children and that they get a Christmas. It warms our hearts, obviously, because no one should be left behind at Christmas. “
The goal of Band of Brothers is to share the joy of Christmas with young people of all ages – not just young children, who usually receive help and are rarely forgotten. This is not always the case for young people in middle and high school.
“The younger ones will get help – and of course some won’t – but that middle-level kid, sometimes he or she gets left out,” Tucker said. “The Foundation is doing a great job and has already identified around 500 children in 13 counties.
Locally, the Band of Brothers are hoping to raise enough funds to help with the Prison Angel Tree Program, the Upshur County Christmas Shop, and possibly the Healthy Grandfamily Program in the Jail. Upshur County.
To purchase a 2022 West Virginia Scenic Calendar, contact Tucker at email@example.com, contact a BOB member, or click here to get one from the My Buckhannon online store. For each calendar sold, My Buckhannon will cover all transaction and ecommerce costs so that every penny paid by buyers goes directly to Band of Brothers.