CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that the West Virginia Game Changer initiative is launching a new promotion called “Change Their Holiday,” with a goal of making sure families recovering from opioid and substance misuse have everything they need to enjoy a happy holiday season.
“I’ve said for a long time that our kids are, without a doubt, the greatest treasure we have in West Virginia, and we need to do all we possibly can do to make their lives the very best they can be,” Gov. Justice said. “There are many kids that will surely have all kinds of happiness this holiday season. But there are too many others who may have a parent in recovery, or are living with their grandparents, whatever it may be, who are just getting by and may not be able to afford big dinners and gifts. That’s why I’m excited about the Change Their Holiday promotion. Between the great people putting this program together at Game Changer and the countless good-hearted West Virginians all across this state, I’m confident we will make a real difference in the lives of these children this holiday.”
Game Changer – one of the largest public-private coalitions of its kind in the nation – is aimed at tackling opioid and substance use, along with other issues impacting West Virginia’s youth.
Through its Change Their Holiday promotion, Game Changer will be raising money until Friday, Dec. 18, to help provide families in recovery a complete holiday, down to the turkey dinner with all the fixings on Christmas Day.
To read more about the Change Their Holiday promotion, or to make a donation electronically, visit WVGameChanger.com.
In collaboration with corporate sponsors Walmart, the JW Ebert McDonald’s Corp, MVB Bank, Pepsi, ParMar and Mountaineer Marts, and Aetna Better Health of West Virginia, Game Changer continues to work to Change the Game in West Virginia.
Pepsi and Walmart are teaming to donate percentages of proceeds of sales at all 48 Walmart locations throughout West Virginia; the JW Ebert McDonald’s Corporation is donating 50 cents from each holiday pie sold during the promotion period in addition to placing coupons asking customers to make donations online; MVB Bank is holding an employee contest at all of its locations to determine which location can gather the most donations; and ParMar and Mountaineer Marts have placed change boxes next to the cash register at each location, in addition to teaming up with Pepsi to donate proceeds of sales from selected Pepsi products.
Game Changer is also teaming with Grandfamilies, a statewide organization with chapters in all of West Virginia’s 55 counties, on the Change Their Holiday promotion. Headquartered at West Virginia State University, Grandfamilies assists grandparents forced into the role of caregivers due to opioid and substance misuse.
West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Executive Director Bernie Dolan echoed the Governor’s sentiment. “This is just another example of how Game Changers is lending a hand in the opioid crisis. The holiday season is a special time of the year and it is heartbreaking to think about the kids who, because of opioid and substance misuse, may not experience all the joy and happiness associated with the holiday season. Hopefully, Change Their Holiday will help provide that joy and happiness.”
Joe Boczek, who heads up the Game Changer initiative on behalf of the WVSSAC, explained that Change Their Holiday is aimed at more than just children, as parents and grandparents experience a great amount of stress too during the holiday season.
“We hope that by purchasing gift cards through all our sponsors, we can also help parents and grandparents put food on the table, gas in their cars, and even tires or other needed items including clothing. It’s equally as heartbreaking to watch parents or grandparents wonder how they are going to provide for a family holiday because funds are tight,” Boczek said. “It is our sincere hope we will indeed Change the Game for families in West Virginia during this holiday season and many holiday seasons to come.”