Local photographer Al Tucker, a member of the Band of Brothers, speaks at the Upshur County Commission's Oct. 7 meeting. The Christian men's group is launching its annual Christmas calendar sale, which will again benefit children in need.

Band of Brothers launch annual Christmas calendar campaign, refocusing on kids

BUCKHANNON – The sixth annual Band of Brothers calendar sale will donate all proceeds to various programs benefiting children in need.

Band of Brothers member Al Tucker, Tim Rock and Bill Nicholson attended the Oct. 7 Upshur County Commission meeting to announce the start of their annual holiday calendar sale for 2021.

The calendar sale for 2020 benefited the residents of 35 nursing homes across 19 counties by donating between $750 to $5,000 to each home. Last year’s theme was “Help Us Help Kids From 1 to 92” and focused on older adults living in residential health care facilities to combat the loneliness and isolation those residents had to endure due to the ongoing pandemic.

“This was amazing. We had no idea we were going to be able to do that last year, but this year we’re really focusing on underprivileged kids, meaning kids that fall through the safety net,” Tucker said. “There’s a song, ‘We need a little Christmas,’ and after a couple years of pandemic we all need a little Christmas, but we want to try to bring it to some underprivileged kids.”

The Band of Brothers are working with both out-of-county and local programs.

“We’re working with a couple of groups that go into homes that don’t even have a Christmas tree at Christmas, most likely don’t get presents,” Tucker explained. “They go into homes where kids hide food because they get hungry. We’re working with a couple of groups, the West Virginia Kids Count and the Underprivileged Children’s Foundation which is in Charleston, and they cover about 13 counties, but they’re trying to expand across the state and locally, we’re working with Lori Harvey at the Family Resource Network and she’s working with the school system to identify as many kids as we can, here in the county.”

Rock said they have also partnered with the Upshur Parish House and Christmas Store.

“We support the local Christmas store, so if you don’t know, it’s a way for underprivileged kids to purchase toys at a very reduced price,” Rock said. “We support the Parish House, and everybody knows what a great job the Parish House does for the entire family and kids as well. We support several youth missions, and we help kids go to camp that otherwise couldn’t go to camp.”

The brothers are also working with the statewide Healthy Grandfamilies initiative, Northern Appalachian Teen Challenge and the local prison Angel Tree program.

“The Healthy Grandfamilies initiative is a program started by the Senior Center and Family Resource Network to help grandparents that are raising their grandkids kids, and there’s a large number of kids being raised by grandparents in this county,” Rock said. “Everybody knows substance abuse is hard on everyone, but it’s especially hard on kids in the family, so we support North Appalachian Teen Challenge. It’s a facility that helps young people overcome substance abuse and one of the programs that we support that’s near and dear to my heart is the local prison Angel Tree program.”

The prison Angel Tree Program identifies children with a parent in prison and gives them a Christmas party and presents.   

“I usually get the names of the kids from Upshur, Randolph, Lewis and Barbour,” Rock said. “Before COVID we would set up and have a party for these kids and bring them all in. Last year, Santa Claus delivered to their houses, but we’ll see what this year brings.”

The calendars are $15 and may be purchased by contacting a member of the Band of Brothers or visiting Al Tucker’s Facebook page for more information.

Pictured displaying the Band of Brothers’ 2021 Christmas calendar are, from left, county commissioner Sam Nolte, Band of Brothers member Al Tucker, BOB member Bill Nicholson, commission president Kristie Tenney, BOB member Tim Rock and commissioner Terry Cutright.

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