Charlestown non­profit works to help county fos­ter chil­dren

Holds pan­cake break­fast fundraiser

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - bshea@ce­cil­whig.com By BRI­ANNA SHEA

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.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Su­san, Me­gan and Frank Tucker, or­ga­niz­ers of ANT’s Army, sit out­side of the Mar­ket Street Cafe on Satur­day morn­ing.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Cooper Meekins, 11, Nicole Meekins, Jes­sica Hurt and Seb Hurt, 10, en­joy ANT’s Army’s pan­cake break­fast on Satur­day morn­ing.

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