Charlestown nonprofit works to help county foster children
Holds pancake breakfast fundraiser
CHARLESTOWN — Pancakes, syrup, bacon, home fries, juice and coffee were the main staples for a local nonprofit organization’s pancake breakfast fundraiser, which was held at Market Street Cafe Saturday morning.
Proceeds from the breakfast went toward raising money for ANT’s Army, a nonprofit organization geared toward helping foster children in the county between the ages of 16 and 21 who either rent a room or are on their own, said Susan Tucker, president of ANT’s Army. The organization works in conjunction with the county’s Department of Social Services, Tucker said.
The organization is named after Tucker’s daughter, Ashely Nicole Tucker, who died in an accident in June 2006, Tucker said. She said she and her family wanted to do something to keep Ashley’s memory alive. Ashely aspired to become a child psychologist after she graduated, Tucker said.
“For me, it’s people who are coming out in Ashely’s memory or to learn more about ANT’s Army or Ashley and it just keeps her memory alive,” Tucker said of the breakfast.
Susan’s husband, Frank, said all of the donations and proceeds from the organization’s events go to children in need.
“What we receive goes out to these kids and to see the
reactions and the happiness that it does bring to other kids is amazing,” Frank said.
He said Saturday’s event was so people can learn about the organization.
“This whole thing we are doing is what I envisioned Ashely would have done because she was all about helping people,” Frank said.
Proceeds from Saturday’s event will go toward the organization purchasing a shed to hold donations such as furniture and clothing for the children, Susan said. She said they have already raised $900 through a breakfast held in February and a large donation from one of her co-workers. She said she hopes their upcoming vendor event at the end of the month, in conjunction with the funds from the breakfast, will be enough for a deposit. Susan said she hopes the 5K run in September will help them to pay off the rest of the shed.
She said the organization is storing items because there are no children moving out now or on their own at the moment, so she is reaching out to Harford County’s Department of Social Services to inquire about any children in the same age range and program that need items.
Tucker said she and her husband are hoping to purchase the shed next month and and put it on their property.
“Our thought process is that I will keep an ‘inventory list’ and I will give that to the assistant director at the social services,” Tucker said. “If a worker has a kid that needs something, they will get the key from her and then get the items they need and then lock it back up.”
Tucker said she will receive a notification about what is needed and she will keep a “master list” of the items.
Donna Jarman, of Middletown, Del., said she was happy to attend the event to support Susan and enjoy the breakfast with her family. Jarman said Susan works hard for the foster children the organization helps.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Jarman said. “I try to support her as much as possible.”
Jarman said in addition to attending the events, she donates items for the Easter baskets and Christmas baskets that Susan puts together for the children.
Jarman’s daughter, Holly Reynolds and her granddaughter, Hannah Reynolds, 5, both traveled from Wilmington, Del., to attend the event.
Holly said she came to the event to help the organization through the $10 ticket and for the pancakes.
“(I’m) happy that Susan is able to help so many children,” Holly said.
Perryville resident Jessica Hurt, said she attended the event with family members to support her daughter, Nicole Meekins, and the organization. Meekins is the assistant director of the county’s Department of Social Services and Susan frequently works with her to get in touch with foster children and find out if they need anything.
“My daughter, she is one of the volunteers, so we came to support her and the event,” Hurt said.
She said the breakfast was the first time she has gone to one of the organization’s events.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Hurt said of the event and organization. “They do a fabulous job.”
Meekins said she likes the event because it brings families together and it also helps others.
“I think it’s a great family event which ultimately helps other families,” Meekins said.
Susan, Megan and Frank Tucker, organizers of ANT’s Army, sit outside of the Market Street Cafe on Saturday morning.
Cooper Meekins, 11, Nicole Meekins, Jessica Hurt and Seb Hurt, 10, enjoy ANT’s Army’s pancake breakfast on Saturday morning.