Posted: May 7, 2018 | Source: WV Gazette-Mail

Debi O’Dell

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia announced recently that, as part of its fifth annual Ks for Kids program, the company will donate $5 to Elk River Backpack Blessings for every strikeout thrown by a West Virginia Power pitcher this season at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston.

The Elk River Backpack Blessings program provides food to elementary school students in the area who face a food shortage by providing them with a backpack of nutritious, child-friendly food at the end of each week. Since 2012, Elk River Backpack Blessings has grown to serve 500 children in seven schools in the Elk River community. The program is designed to help ease the hunger of children in need so that they can attend school regularly, have better health and are more successful in their classwork and overall daily lives.

“Through our annual Ks for Kids program, Highmark West Virginia and the West Virginia Power have the opportunity to spotlight an outstanding program in our community that is making a difference in the lives of our children,” said Highmark West Virginia President Jim Fawcett. “We all have a stake in creating healthier communities, and our support of Elk River Backpack Blessings is just one of the ways we can help give back.”

“Elk River Backpack Blessings appreciates the support of Highmark West Virginia and the West Virginia Power baseball team to help provide healthy, nutritious, child-friendly foods to put in weekend backpacks,” Elk River Backpack Blessings Director Debi O’Dell said. “It takes the whole community to keep our kids healthy and happy.”

Since 2014, $10,000 has been awarded through Ks for Kids to four different organizations.

“The West Virginia Power baseball team is excited to be partnering with two great organizations – Highmark West Virginia and Elk River Backpack Blessings – for the Ks for Kids program all season long at Appalachian Power Park,” said Tim Mueller, general manager of the West Virginia Power, an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. “It’s a great opportunity to raise awareness about child hunger in our community.”

The 2018 West Virginia Power baseball season got underway on April 5 with the squad’s first home game against the Greenville Drive. This year marks the 14th season for the West Virginia Power.

According to the Elk River Backpack Blessings website, a vendor sale to benefit the food program is scheduled for 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 2. The sale will be held at Mount Tabor United Methodist Church at 401 Church Road in Pinch.

Vendor registration is $20 per table plus at least one item from the vendor wares to be offered as a raffle prize. Only one vendor per company is permitted. To register or learn more, contact Jennifer O’Dell at 304-389-0393.

Hot dogs and barbecues will be available for purchase at the sale.

More information regarding the Elk River Backpack Blessings program — including how and where to make donations to the effort — is posted at

Information is also available by sending email correspondence to, visiting the Elk River Backpack Blessing Facebook page or calling 304-767-0699.