The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 3, 2013

From fairs to financial assistance

‘Behind The Scenes’ With the Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary


— The Friends of Coal Ladies’ Auxiliary members are seen at many community functions smiling, laughing and talking with the attendees. Their mission is to enhance support of and understanding about the West Virginia coal industry and its impact on our state.

We are a dedicated group of ladies that enjoy what we do. Now, take a look behind the scenes with us as we describe some of our activities.

We prepare our calendar for the year in January. We vote on the festivals and activities in which we will participate. General meetings are held the last Thursday of each month. Bulk mailings are done and supplies are boxed for mailing to the deployed military of our state.

Decisions need to be made for ordering merchandise as we must have a quality product at a fair price. These items are sold at community events we attend and can be purchased from our online store at www.friendsofcoalladies.com. The money from these products is used for our giveaways and to support our projects such as Giving Hearts.

This group of volunteers gathered Dec. 14 in Mabscott to distribute Christmas gifts and food to area families and deployed military families. Preparation for this day started in August with fundraisers and collecting donations from local residents and businesses.

Families are chosen by local schools and churches. The deployed military families are chosen by the co-coordinator of the West Virginia National Guard Child and Youth Programs in Charleston. The children make a wish list from which our volunteers shop. Coats, hats, gloves and an outfit are added to the list. Enough food is provided to each family for the holiday season. This year, 80 families representing 300 individuals were served.

The Friends of Coal Auto Fair in July it is one our most detailed events. To prepare the merchandise for the fair, inventory must be done and items priced, boxed and transported to the fair grounds. After our tent is set up, everything is unpacked and put on display. Work schedules have been prepared in advance so there are no questions of each volunteer’s duty.

Detailed records must be kept concerning our cash flow being as we are a 501c3 organization (non-profit). Our volunteers donate many hours to make this fair a success for the auxiliary and the YMCA.

In August, the West Virginia Coal Association designated the Friends of Coal Ladies’ Auxiliary as the official distributor of Friends of Coal merchandise. After the meeting we took a few minutes for a photo with West Virginia’s own Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.

In October we contributed to the Rocket Boys Festival as well as working our information booth. The auxiliary sponsored three fire hydrants painted in a contest prior to the festival.

Without the donations from our community members, local businesses and the help from the volunteers these accomplishments of 2012 listed below would not have been possible.

— Taught “Coal in the Classroom” at St. Francis DeSales and Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic schools.

— Revamped Ladies’ Auxiliary website.

— Revamped Friends of Coal online store.

— Worked the Friends of Coal Auto Fair in July.

— Recorded a DVD to promote the Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary and its projects.

— Continued to provide Internet for the residents at the Beckley Veterans hospital. Continued to decorate floors at the Beckley Veterans hospital, as requested. Keep the “Treasure Chest” at the Beckley Veterans hospital stocked. Provide the Beckley Veterans hospital with hams for July 4. Continue to provide for the Beckley VA hospital’s “Wish List.”

— Miner Mike and several baseball players are part of the day the Friends of Coal Ladies’ Auxiliary entertain the Beckley Veterans hospital on Veterans Appreciation Day.

— “Giving Hearts” project at Christmas, touching more than 80 families, representing more than 300 individuals in 2012.

— Continue to update the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine.

— For the Boy Scouts National Jamboree in 2013, the Friends of Coal Ladies’ Auxiliary is landscaping Nell-Jean Square, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church and St. Francis DeSales Catholic Church.

— Provided assistance to the “Smile Train.”

— Provided gun safety class and self-defense class.

— Provided help to Mabscott United Methodist Church “backpack” project.

— Provided assistance to Heart of God Ministries’ school event.

— Provided assistance and information to the Robert Worley Golf Tournament benefiting First Tee.

— Worked, provided Friends of Coal information and obtained new memberships to the Friends of Coal at the Rocket Boys weekend at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine. Entered the painting of fire hydrants for the Rocket Boys weekend.

— Gave out coal information the Labor Day Autumn Fest at Lake Stephens.

— Gave out coal information at Tailgate Halloween in downtown Beckley.

— Provided items for the Bereavement Group in the nursery at the Raleigh General Hospital.

— Provided GI phone cards to the United States Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan Projects.

— Gave out “Friends of Coal” items at the “Miner Appreciation Night” at Linda K. Epling Stadium.

— Provided a 13-year-old girl, who had brain surgery, with a donated computer enabling her to have a home-bound teacher. Provided help with motel expenses in Morgantown during their stay.

— Provided items, as well as financial aid, to several coal mining families who were flooded, burned out of their homes or had difficulty meeting expenses.

— “Strike Out Diabetes” West Virginia Charity Event.

Our community is of the utmost importance to us. The contributions from businesses and individuals are appreciated and necessary to our mission. Thank you for helping us to help others.

It is not too late to donate to the auxiliary, as we help families in need throughout the year. There are homes lost to fires, medical issues and parents without jobs due to our poor economy. The joy that comes from helping others is indescribable!

If you would like to join us please call 304-255-1457 extension 20 or e-mail ladiesauxiliary@friendsofcoal.com. Better yet just attend our general meetings held on the last Thursday of each month at The Hylton Building, 144 Whitestick St., Mabscott. Membership is free.