- Associated Press - Sunday, April 19, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Brightly colored paper flowers will soon adorn windows of gas stations and convenience stores across the area in an effort to raise money for children.

The West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association has teamed with the Children’s Home Society to launch the fifth annual “Every Child Deserves a Loving Home” campaign. The effort will raise money for the Children’s Home Society assistance programs and run through May 10.

First Lady Joanne Tomblin helped kick-start the campaign April 10. She read stories to children served by the Children’s Home Society at an event at the Governor’s Mansion.

Mary White, director of development and philanthropy for the Children’s Home Society, said the agency helped 13,479 West Virginia children last year from 13 locations across the state.

“The need for help is overwhelming,” she said. “This campaign will not only raise awareness about West Virginia children who need help or a family to call their own, but will provide our organization with a greater ability to make a positive impact on children’s lives.”

The Children’s Home Society houses a variety of support programs for children, including emergency child shelters, foster care, adoption, mentoring, early intervention and other family support programs statewide.

“Every child deserves a loving home, and there are too many West Virginia children living with crisis in the family,” said OMEGA President Jan Vineyard. “This campaign will provide funds to the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, which has shelters and assistance programs in every corner of the state, to help those children and families in need.”

OMEGA members, including Go-Mart, Little General, One Stop and the Kanawha City Foodland, among others, will sell the paper flowers for $1 each and post them in the windows to show support for the agency. The campaign raised more than $88,000 last year and more than $2 million since 2003 for a variety of charities that improve the health, safety and well-being of West Virginia’s kids.

“This effort not only gives back to the communities where our members live and work, but it demonstrates the philanthropic nature of our industry,” Vineyard said. “This is a win for all involved: the children, our members and the public.”

Currently, more than 4,000 children are placed in out-of-home care and 1,200 children are in need of adoption.

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Information from: Charleston Daily Mail, https://www.charlestondailymail.com

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