Benefits for family continue to grow

ELKINS – The community outpouring for the local family that lost five members to a fatal fire continues to grow.

Judy Ritchie, general manager of Clayton Homes in Elkins, has arranged, with the help of many dedicated residents, a family dinner for members of the Chamberlain family. Folks interested in helping with donations for the dinner can contact Ritchie at Clayton Homes, and donations are to be delivered to the Beverly Fire Department by 11 a.m. Thursday.

Nicole Welch Cooper, cousin of Alan Chamberlain, said she established an account for donations. Additional information is available on-line at

Teresa Blankenship, manager of Elkins Smoker Friendly, has planned a bake sale beginning at 9 a.m. Friday. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Chamberlain family, and donations are still being accepted.

Over the weekend, there were reports of different groups helping raise funds for the Chamberlains. At Elkins Wal-Mart, Crystal Summerfield said a group of LPN students collected $1,082 on Saturday. During the Elkins Middle School football game and Elkins Youth Football games, a total of $450 was collected from the crowd.

Many other fundraisers have been planned. The first announced benefit for the family was made public Oct. 29 when Harvey Taylor, a Randolph County Board of Education member, said the event will be “a combination cakewalk, 50/50 drawing and auction” held at George Ward Elementary School at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

A checking account was opened Oct. 30 allowing for donations for the family to be made at any Citizens Bank of West Virginia office, including those located in Elkins, Beverly, Parsons and Snowshoe. Donations can be mailed to Chamberlain Family Memorial Fund, c/o Citizens Bank of West Virginia, P.O. Box 1519, Elkins, WV 26241. Include account number 1045 in the memo part of your check.

Broughton said the balance of the account was $4,000 Friday, and went up to more than $10,000 Monday. Broughton said he and another individual in Elkins are finalizing an application with the West Virginia University football program which will allow information about the Chamberlain family checking account and other fundraisers to be displayed on the scoreboard during the WVU game against Texas Saturday.

A group that calls themselves “Friends and Family of Jen and Alan Chamberlain” are hosting a bake sale, hot dog sale, raffle and 50-50 drawing beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Valley Point Mall near Kmart in Elkins.

Another group of friends has organized a spaghetti dinner to help the family. The dinner will be at the First Baptist Church in Elkins from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 16. Dinners include a salad, drink, spaghetti, meatballs and garlic bread. Carry out will be available. Dinners are $7 for adults and $3 for kids 10 and under. Tickets are available at the door.

The group is organizing another event at the end of the month, and in January will sponsor an elimination dinner, 5K race and chicken BBQ, with proceeds going to benefit the family.

At Elkins Middle School, students and teachers will be collecting books and donations in memory of Katie Bolgar, who was a student at the school.

From Monday through Friday, the school will dedicate a section of the EMS library to Katie and are asking residents to purchase books suitable for 11- to 14-year-olds. Books and donations may be dropped off at the school any weekday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Elkins Volunteer Fire Department has offered to buy and install a smoke detector for anyone who can’t afford one.

Contact Beth Christian Broschart by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter at IMT_Broschart.