BUCKHANNON — On behalf of the Upshur County Tobacco Prevention Coalition, Amanda Hayes provided a presentation of the Great American Smokeout Proclamation Thursday morning. Commissioners made a motion to recognize and support the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout on November 18, 2021 in Upshur County, in addition to encouraging “all citizens who smoke, use chew or dip tobacco, vape, or any other devices to ingest nicotine, to demonstrate to themselves and to their children that they can quit by joining the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout.”
Hayes noted that the Upshur County Tobacco Prevention Coalition has remained active despite the pandemic, as they have kept up meeting regularly and this month, in collaboration with the Upshur County Family Resource Network (FRN), they’re hosting their annual “Quit Cold Turkey, Win a Turkey” contest. This is the sixth annual Great American Smokeout Quit Cold Turkey contest; however, this year it will be virtual.
Hayes explained that in order to participate, individuals must go to the discussion section of the event via the Upshur County FRN Facebook page, and find the question—“How many days do you pledge to quit?” Individuals can also comment how long they have quit already or if they never used tobacco. The two organizations will assign numbers to the answers and draw a winner to receive a turkey. All comments must be made on the Facebook page by midnight on Sunday, November 14.
According to the proclamation, “A pack of cigarettes costs approximately $6.62 plus tax, so if you multiply that one pack a day, the monthly cost is over $200,” making the yearly cost of smoking in West Virginia approximately $2,400. The proclamation notes that saving this amount of money could allow an individual to take their family on a week-long vacation or afford a monthly utility payment. It also emphasizes that those studies show secondhand smoke causes an increase of lung cancer by 20-30%.
Commissioners also made a motion to proclaim November 2021 as National Adoption Month last Thursday morning. This proclamation was presented by Upshur County FRN Director Lori Ulderich Harvey and Necco Foster Care Recruiter Leah Peck. This initiative comes from the Children’s Bureau “with a goal to increase national awareness regarding the need for permanent families for children and youth in the foster care system.”
Harvey also touched base regarding the Upshur County FRN and Senior Center’s collaboration on the Healthy Grandfamilies program, which provides guidance for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. She mentioned that almost every grandparent in their program this year has guardianship or has already adopted their grandchild(ren).
Peck came to Commissioners the beginning of this year to emphasize the need for foster homes in West Virginia. Peck is a foster parent herself and has noticed the significant increase in foster children each year. The proclamation stated, “As of May 2020, there are approximately 7,200 children in foster care with just over 3,000 foster families registered.” The numbers have only increased, as the estimated number for November 2021 is around or more than 8,000.
Lastly, the proclamation encourages the residents of Upshur County to consider fostering or adopting a child or donating time, resources, or educating and advocating for the kids. It concluded, “We also celebrate all of the adoptions that have taken place in Upshur County.”