OFF THE WIRE
Keyser, W.Va. —
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER – As volunteers for the 2011 Warm the Children campaign continue to shop for area needy children, two major fund raising events are being planned this month to help bring in the money to enable those volunteer shoppers to keep on shopping.
Co-sponsored by the Mineral Daily News Tribune and the Mineral County Family Resource Network, Warm the Children provides warm winter clothing to those area children who make application and are referred through the local office of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
This year, 603 children are on the recipient list.
Thanks to several generous donations made over the summer, along with the Warlock Motorcycle Club's $5,500 raised through their annual crab feast, volunteers were able to start shopping for 251 of those children in late September.
On Friday, Nov. 11, Warm the Children will host its annual Christmas Open House at Peebles in the Keyser Square Mall.
A holiday basket will be raffled off, and local singer Michaela Bush will provide holiday vocal entertainment.
The highlight of the 4:30-6:30 p.m. event, however, will be the presence of the Jolly Old Elf himself, with children of all ages being invited to get their photos taken with Santa for a small fee.
The professional photos, by Marlee of Life Images, are being offered for a fraction of the price of most Santa photos ($10 for one 5x7 and two wallets), and every single penny of that goes to Warm the Children, thanks to Marlee Fitzgerald and Life Images donating their time and all proceeds.
Then, on Saturday, Nov. 19, Warm the Children volunteers will be selling hot dogs and homemade baked goods at the Dollar Tree in Keyser from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Jessica Blizzard of the Family Resource Network is coordinating that event.
Warm the Children supporters are also urging everyone to keep watching for the WTC snowmen to start appearing in local businesses. In that annual campaign, supporters may donate $1 or more and have their name placed on a paper snowman and posted in the business.
Now in its 17th year, Warm the Children is a nationwide campaign started by Delaware newspaperman Mack Stewart. Judy Tetrick Layman brought the program to the Mineral Daily News Tribune in 1995, and served as its local chair until the Tetrick family retired and sold the News Tribune in 1998.
With Stewart's retirement two years ago, the Mineral County Family Resource Network came on board as the non-profit entity working with the News Tribune.
Kelli Wittman has served as chairperson for the past several years.
In the time that Warm the Children has been in operation in Mineral County, the campaign has raised over $545,000 and helped 6,688 children in need of warm winter coats, hats, gloves and boots.
Donations for Warm the Children may be dropped off at the News Tribune office, 21 Shamrock Dr. in Keyser (across from 84 Lumber), or mailed to Warm the Children, P.O. Box 879, Keyser WV 26726.