CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The best thing we’ve ever done is how Traci Nelson, the president of West Virginia Oil Marketers & Grocers Association (OMEGA), described partnering with Children’s Home Society in 2011.

OMEGA is now gearing up for its 9th annual statewide “Every Child Deserves a Loving Home” fundraising campaign benefiting the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.

A kickoff event was held Monday at the Greenbrier Street Go-Mart in Charleston with representatives from both organizations and local legislators on hand.

“We have a lot of children in our state who are in crisis right now within their homes,” Nelson said. “We have children in foster care because of the drug epidemic in the state.

“The Children’s Home Society takes care of these children.”

The campaign sells paper flowers for $1 at nearly 500 OMEGA-member convenience and grocery stores in the state including Little General Store Inc, Par Mar Stores, Go-Mart, BFS Foods, Dezaio Oil Company, Mini Giants, R.M. Roach & Sons, and TWJ Piggly Wiggly.

Jake Flatley/

$1 paper flowers can be purchased for the fundraiser.

Through Mother’s Day on May 12, anyone can purchase a flower, write their name on it and hang it on the walls of the convenience store.

According to the release, all monies raised through the campaign go toward the Children Home Society’s assistance programs, which include; emergency child shelter, foster care, adoption support, mentoring, early intervention and numerous other family support programs.

“This is the best thing we do,” Nelson said. “We work hard and take care of four associations. We partnered with the Children’s Home Society in 2011 and its the best thing we’ve ever done.

“These people care so much. They do so much and put so much work into this campaign themselves. They just have a heart for children and we have a heart for them.”

OMEGA said it has raised nearly $2.6 million over the past eight years for this campaign and other efforts to help West Virginia children, as there are more than 7,000 of our state’s children in out-of-home care and 1,200 children in need of adoption.

The Children’s Home Society of West Virginia cared for more than 16,000 children in the state in 2018.

“How can you look at the face of the child and not want to help them,” Nelson said. “There are just so many children in our state that are in crisis right now.

“If you can just give one dollar, it goes such a long way.”