By: Lydia Crawley
The Parsons Advocate
The Tucker County Commission, in a motion made by Commission President Mike Rosenau, approved a financial support of $1,500 to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 104 in Elkins to assist with the organization’s annual children’s Christmas party and gifts for underprivileged children. Ron Kilgore represented the organization at the Commission’s meeting.
Kilgore said his organization serves several counties throughout the area, including Tucker. “We provide services for Randolph, Barbour, Tucker, Pocahontas, Grant and Pendleton Counties,” Kilgore said.
According to Kilgore, the annual event has grown over the years. “We’re here today asking for a donation for our Christmas Party,” Kilgore said. “Our Christmas Party really has evolved. This is the second year where we are going to have it at the Phil Gainer Center. “
Kilgore said 150 area families were served last year by the program. “Last year was a pretty good success,” Kilgore said. “We had roughly a 150 children and their families come.”
The party includes several activities for the children as well as a gift valued at between $90 and $100, Kilgore said. “We have bounce houses, food and every child received a gift between 90 and 100 dollars,” Kilgore said.
Twenty-three Tucker County families were served last year, according to Kilgore, as well as the organization’s continued support of Tucker County in general. “Out of Tucker County, there were 23 kids, plus their families,” Kilgore said. “In Tucker County specific, we donated 800 to the Rec League here. They sent us a letter from the Tucker County Community Foundation, which will come out of our general fund, not our Christmas fund. They are asking, they need to raise $5,000, we’re giving Tucker County another thousand.”
Kilgore said his organization hopes to serve more children this year. “So, I wanted you to know that we put that money back into this county,” Kilgore said. “We’re hoping to expand past the 150 children this year.”
Kilgore outlined how the children are selected. “We do put thought into it,” Kilgore said. “First, we contact the school. The school councilor provides us with the persons that they know in the community that need the assistance for Christmas. So, we do that throughout all the counties.”
Kilgore said his organization works with the child’s family to select gifts especially for each child. “And then we contact each individual family,” Kilgore said. “What does your child want between 90 and 100 dollars? What are they interested in? And then we coordinate and purchase that.”
According to Kilgore, the party will have a longer time frame than they did last year. “Last year it was a four-hour block,” Kilgore said. “So, we have to split the counties. Half the counties come in a two-hour and the other counties come in the other two. We have increased that to a six-hour time limit,” Kilgore said. “So they will be there, half the counties will be there for three hours and the other half for the other three hours.”
Besides gifts and refreshments, the party includes characters such as Santa and the Grinch and activities for the children, as well. “We have Santa Claus, the Grinch, they have a couple of bounce houses, refreshments, they get their gifts,” Kilgore said. “It’s a pretty good time.”
According to Kilgore, the organization spent close to $20,000 on last year’s party. “We spent last year on gifts itself; we spent a little over $18,000,” Kilgore said. “The whole Christmas was about $19, 500 with the venue, with the addition of the wrapping and all of that.”
Kilgore said the organization hopes to raise more money to spend on the party this year. “We’re hoping to expand on all of that,” Kilgore said. “We do have, last year two counties, of all of our county commissions, donated to us. Randolph, they provided $2,500 last year. Pendleton gave a thousand. We’re still waiting for Randolph County this year. Pendleton County gave us another thousand.”
Kilgore said he is attempting to meet with other county commissions to solicit donations, as well. “I’m hoping to get time slots to come and speak at the other counties, too,” Kilgore said. “To let people know that it really is money coming in and going back out directly into your communities.”
Documentation was supplied to the commission, according to Kilgore. “I’ve provided documentations and just photos,” Kilgore said. “Our letter and so forth.”
Kilgore said the party will be held in December before Christmas. “Our Christmas party, it will be in December,” Kilgore said. “It will be before Christmas.”
Kilgore also informed the Commission that the money raised will be divided between the counties served, but they are still in need of donations. “We try to split that money up between the counties,” Kilgore said. “Right now, I’m transparent, we have about $9,500. So, we’re on an upswing. We still have a way to go to get to where we were last year, but hopefully we will get there.”
According to Kilgore it takes $100 to served one child. “You could pretty much say a $100 a child,” Kilgore said. “So, if it’s a $1,000, that’s 10 children. We will bring more, but that’s about what you’re sponsoring. It’s a $100 a child. So, I hope you consider.”
The Christmas donations have a separate account, according to Kilgore. “The Christmas donation itself is a separate account only for the Christmas,” Kilgore said. “So, it does not go into our general fund. It can’t be spent on anything other than (that). If a check comes in and it says Christmas donation, it goes into its own account. It is specifically spent on the Christmas party and we welcome it.”
Rosenau asked Kilgore if any donation made for the Christmas fund would be used for any other purpose. Kilgore said it would not. “So, if we give a donation, if the donation is for the Christmas fund, it goes directly to the Christmas fund,” Rosenau said. “It doesn’t do administration; it doesn’t do cleaning or anything? It goes directly to the kids.”
Kilgore affirmed that all donations designated for the Christmas party are only for the Christmas party. “Yes, sir, that is correct. It is a separate account.”
Rosenau made a motion to donate $1,500 to the Christmas Party. “I want to make a motion that we donate, because it goes directly to the kids. $1,500,” Rosenau said. The motion was unanimously approved by the Commissioners.
The next meeting of the Tucker County Commission will be held November 15th at 9 a.m. at the Old Courtroom of the Tucker County Courthouse in Parsons.