BUCKHANNON — Buckhannon’s Band of Brothers organization presented their 2022 Calendar Campaign Kickoff to County Commissioners Thursday morning. This time, proceeds from the calendars will be focused on underprivileged/disadvantaged children who have experienced abuse or neglect to provide them with a “nice Christmas.”
This is the group’s sixth year of work, focusing on helping disadvantaged families and children in Upshur County. On behalf of the Band of Brothers, Al Tucker explained to Commissioners they are working to bring a little Christmas joy to families in need. Locally, the group is working with Family Resource Network (FRN) Director Lori Harvey to identify as many disadvantaged kids as possible in Upshur County. Harvey will reportedly be working with Upshur County Schools to help identify these kids.
Tucker noted that they touched 19 counties last year and anticipate touching 15 counties this year. Another member of the Buckhannon Band of Brothers, Tim Rock, talked about the work the group does locally. “Upshur County is important to us,” he articulated. The Band of Brothers always supports the Christmas Store in downtown Buckhannon, which allows individuals to purchase Christmas gifts at a very low cost. They also assist at the Parish House. “We all know what a great job they do,” Rock expressed. He also noted that they assist youth to travel on mission trips and attend camps.
The Band of Brothers is also helping to support the Healthy Grandfamilies program that was started through a partnership with the FRN and Senior Center. This program assists grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.
Additionally, the group assists with the local Prison Angel Tree program and substance abuse programs such as North Central Appalachian Teen Challenge. “Substance abuse is a hard hit, and it is especially hard for the kids,” Rock explained as to why they feel North Central Appalachian Teen Challenge is important for them.
Rock is also the coordinator of the Prison Angel Tree program. They reportedly retrieve names of the children of those incarcerated and provide the children and family with Christmas gifts. They typically retrieve names from kids in Upshur, Lewis, Randolph and Barbour counties. Prior to the pandemic, the group hosted a big party for the kids to come and enjoy with face painting and balloons. Last year, Santa had to deliver to the houses, Rock explained, “but we will see what this year will bring,” he added.
According to Rock, “Most of these kids would not have a Christmas if it wasn’t for this… The kids get so excited.” The Band of Brothers take no recognition for the gifts provided, as the kids believe they come from their parent(s) who are incarcerated. “We take photos and send them to the incarcerated parents,” Rock explained. Rock read a letter from one of the parents to the Band of Brothers, thanking them for all that they do. “We are touching lives. If we touch one kid, we are doing our job,” he expressed.
The Band of Brothers are involved with the following programs and organizations: Underprivileged Children Foundation, WV Kids Count, Child Protective Services, Backpack Program ministries, Christmas Store for Disadvantaged Kids, Prison Angel Tree Program, Northern Appalachian Teen Challenge, Youth Mission programs, and the Upshur Parish House.
To help support the Buckhannon Band of Brother’s mission to serve underprivileged kids this Christmas, you can purchase one of their $15 calendars. If interested in purchasing one or making a donation, contact Kevin Hawkins at (304) 613-8566, Bill Nicholson at (304) 439-4170, Tim Rock at (304) 642-2555, John Simons at (681) 264-0035, or Al Tucker at (304) 704-4292. Make checks payable to “Band of Brothers,” and pass your contribution along to one of these contacts or mail them to Al Tucker at 98 West Lincoln St., Buckhannon.
On October 30, the Buckhannon Band of Brothers will host a chicken dinner for the Seth Poling fund. These proceeds will assist him, as well as his family. They will begin serving at 11 a.m. and will be set up across from Rent-A-World, near the used car lot. “We know that courageous young man and want to do something special,” Tucker expressed.
Commissioner Sam Nolte added, “Thank all three of you gentlemen. You have been involved in the community for so many years and you keep on trucking, and we appreciate it.”